Rise and Fall of Privacy

In the US, the right of publicity and the right to privacy are not the same issue; nor are they managed at the same statutory levels; state or federal.

"The right of publicity prevents the unauthorized commercial use of an individual's name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one's persona. It gives an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their identity for commercial promotion." --Cornell University, Legal Information Institute

The right to privacy, while inferred in the Constitution, is not explicitly stated and is narrowly defined in Amendments 1, 4 and 5. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) largely enforces the statutory right of privacy; and the increased occurrence of companies and individuals having privacy policies and privacy statements are evidence of the work the FTC has done.

This is a gray area that Facebook, and other corporate or social networks deliberately trespass into again and again. Users have few options to respond in kind; two of which are that you don't sign-up for the service to begin with and in the event that you are an existing user, you can always cancel and delete your account. Is the average user going to lobby for FB (or any other social network provider) to change its policies or hire a lawyer to negotiate a bilateral policy with FB? Doubt it.

Instagram has changed its usage policy to take advantage of its treasure trove of photo content and enable its advertisers and 3rd party partners to use its user content without having to define licensing or copyright protections. This is a usage policy notion that gets lauded by the general public as a social media no-no and generally results in a mass exodus of users (and subsequently, user-generated content).

There are never any right or wrong ways to deliver such a message to an audience; there is only tact and diplomacy. Let's start with the basics. Instagram is a free-to-use photo customization and posting service; it allows users to take photos with any media device, upload them to be manipulated by Instagram's digital sepia process to mimic old Polaroid photos, and share with others (presumably, publicly) within social networks.

If you are one of the users who doesn't want a commercial entity using your creative work for nonsharing revenue purposes, here are a few steps you could also do besides deleting an Instagram account. This is to help eradicate your online presence with <insert social media service>.

(1) Backup your data. If the photos are important to you, like they help you recall special memories, download them to an offline device like a flash drive, laptop, desktop, external drive, or heck, burn it to a CD or DVD.

(2) Delete all traces in and out of the account. If you are accessing Instagram from more than one device, remove the permissions or app for each device or social platform where Instagram photos are shared. For Facebook, I'd suggest that you set your wall's or photo album permissions to something other than public or "friends of friends", and delete each Instagram posting from your Timeline. If it ain't delete, it will live on forever on the Internet. It may become part of the Deep Web and hard to access, but it will still be there. It may still be there even after deleting it from a primary content source. Unshare your Instagram account by navigating to your profile settings / edit share settings and tap the green check mark to unlink.

(3) Remove Instagram activity from within Instagram. Having never been a user of Instagram, I haven't seen the user's side of account content curation. If you have the capability of deleting your posting activity from within the Instagram ecosystem, I recommend you do that before deleting the account. Delete your profile picture and any albums/feeds/photos that you have access to from your account. Leave your bio and/or website, if driving 3rd party traffic to your own sites is important to you and you are just removing Instagram content. Turn off your Instagram notifications.

(4) Turn off your location. Why make it easy for advertisers to target you. Apple iOS users can turn off location services for Instagram entirely by closing the app and opening the Settings app on your device, then tapping Location services and flipping the switch next to Instagram OFF.

(5) Delete your Instagram account, unless you want to still collect whatever meager referral traffic the site makes from your profile's bio.
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