Posting a copyright notice on social media doesn’t actually accomplish anything

Pixabay Free Photo

What to know about the typo-laden privacy screed you may have seen going around Instagram.

If you’ve logged into Instagram since last week, you may have seen people posting a long, typo-laden screed about a new rule going into effect that gives the company the ability to sell, use, or share your photos unless you repost a specific message denying it. I have even seen a few famous photographers doing it.

The statement sounds official, but it’s actually just the latest iteration of an internet chain letter that won’t do anything to protect your privacy or intellectual property from the social media networks or the wilds of the internet in general.

Various versions of the message exist, but they culminate with a declaration of “Instagram does not have my permission to share photos or messages.” Unfortunately, you can type this all you want—or run and shout it out loud at a semi-crowded Dave & Busters—and it still doesn’t change the fact that you have, in fact, given Instagram and other social media services the right to share your images and more.

Dig into the Instagram terms of service and you’ll find a section about permissions you give the company. These legal terms used to be even more complicated, but they got slightly simpler thanks to the European GDPR regulations, which require companies to clarify the actual cost of signing up for their services.