Who Owns Rights To Your Social Media Content?
Occasionally we see those posts on Facebook where a user declares that they don’t have to abide by Facebook’s terms of service, having written a clause in a post. We all know this is a hoax. After all, you already agreed to their terms by making an account.
Even so, what is the nature of your media on someone else’s social media network? What are your social media content rights? It varies, and it’s murky.
Facebook’s terms are broad. Since their (and your) materials are hosted on various servers, their terms are written so that the data can be shared as desired or needed by them. According to Scoopshot, this does not end when you delete your account either. Your images may be hosted on one of their servers elsewhere.
Facebook says they have no intention of using these images for their own purposes, selling them, or otherwise distributing them. However, their legal terms are written so that they can.
Read Facebook’s Terms of Service
Don’t like it? Don’t host or post your media there.
Media you post on Twitter stays yours, says Twitter, but their terms specify that they can distribute the materials posted through them. Again, their terms are open-ended.
Twitter’s Terms of Service state “By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”
Your material belongs to you on Instagram, with the usual warnings about network sharing. They can display those images as they see fit. You are also responsible for not hosting copyright materials belonging to someone else.
Flickr is owned by Yahoo, and there has been a lot of fuss over who owns those images. Currently, Flickr claims that you own the rights to your images in their social media network.
Other social media networks state that you own your media with the usual server/host limitations. They also assume that you are acknowledging that you own the materials you upload.
Ultimately, social media networks are going to cover all their bases for the foreseeable future, and make sure they are covered legally. This generally means they will broadly define their own rights. The result may be that they are allowed rights to your media. Your option, then, is to think carefully about where you are posting your media.