Pin this: Reviewing Pinterest’s Terms and Conditions
MMC 6936 – Week 2 Readings: Terms and Conditions
“Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you.”
When considering potential issues, safeguards and ethical concerns in Pinterest’s terms and conditions, this social media platform is in the business of helping users connect by enabling them to post and share photos and images (copyrighted materials) all while protecting itself from copyright infringement, liability and overall risks of responsibility or accountability – all while walking an ethical tightrope.
In reviewing Pinterest’s terms, I was surprised to find that unlike social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest provides more user-friendly material and content in its terms and conditions. The terms come across as more conversational and as more of “How-to” guide. To help avoid confusion among users, I liked how Pinterest provides simplified language and helpful, tangible examples that users can understand and help their experience. Consider the following examples:
While one can easily correlate contract theory of ethics to the terms, I found myself thinking about the Ethics of care and how Pinterest’s terms and conditions made more of an effort to include emotion, bonding and relationships. Why is that? Why do I feel like part of the conversation when it comes to Pinterest versus an authoritative dictatorship when it comes to Facebook (I.e. You will do this, etc.) Is it the user base? According to analysis by RJMetrics, 80 percent of Pinterest users are female. Beyond this, more than 90 percent of all pins are created/shared by women. There are apparently “15x more pins by women than by men” on the site.
Concerns & Pinterest Safeguards:
Copyright. With thousands of photos and images being pinned every minute, copyright infringement and liability have to be high on the priorities list. Pinterest addresses the question of intellectual property rights by acknowledging them, issuing their stands and specifically referencing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. I like how it provides users with the source and helps answer the “Why?” question.
Your rights. Despite respecting intellectual property rights, users are still signing away their rights to their content and IP. “You grant Pinterest and its users a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub licensable, worldwide license to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute your User Content on Pinterest solely for the purposes of operating, developing, providing, and using the Pinterest Products.”
Arbitration. This is a new term I hadn’t seen before and thought that it was interesting to see how Pinterest tries to prevent or limit lawsuits, by having users go through arbitration first.
- For any dispute you have with Pinterest, you agree to first contact us and attempt to resolve the dispute with us informally.
- If Pinterest has not been able to resolve the dispute with you informally, we each agree to resolve any claim, dispute, or controversy (excluding claims for injunctive or other equitable relief) arising out of or in connection with or relating to these Terms by binding arbitration by the American Arbitration Association
But can Pinterest be liable? No, it’s safeguarded itself by you using its services and agreeing to its terms:
- Pinterest takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any User Content that you or any other user or third party posts or transmits using our Products. You understand and agree that you may be exposed to User Content that is inaccurate, objectionable, inappropriate for children, or otherwise unsuited to your purpose.
As with any other social media site, the responsibility lies with you.
- I contend that Pinterest has one of the most user-friendly / customer-centric terms and conditions of any social media site. But are there others? And would you agree or if so which sites? So why does Pinterest adopt a more user-friendly style for its terms?
- Pinterest states, “Our Products are controlled and operated from the United States, and we make no representations that they are appropriate or available for use in other locations.” Since social media has no borders or boundaries, how does international law apply to social media terms and conditions?