New Instagram Rules and How They Affect Your Photos

How to prevent your Instagram page from getting shut down- Tips for understanding their most important policies

Using Instagram is a great way to publicize your practice and gain new patients. However, like Facebook, Instagram’s terms and conditions can greatly impact your account and the photos you post.  Don’t let this scare you from posting, just be aware of the most common issues below, and never be blindsided by Instagram.

If you’re posting to Instagram you’re giving them permissions to use your photos, royalty free

As of January 2013, accepting Instagram’s terms you “grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service” (source). This means Instagram has rights to all of your photos and do not have to pay royalties for their future use, even if they make money off of you or your patients photos. Be aware that they even have the right to transfer their license to another company without having to pay your either. This means they could sell your photo of your office to any magazine and neither party would have to pay you. Thankfully Instagram isn’t known for selling user content as it would hurt their overall perception, but as it states in the terms, they could. Be aware, as with any photo posted on the internet, you’re not going to have total control over what happens to your photo.

If you’re hosting a contest you must provide the complete rules and terms for each contest

Sponsoring a contest is a great way to create awareness for your practice, we just want to be sure you can do that in the right way. The worst-case scenario is that your entire page could be locked temporarily until the post is edited or taken down. Again, there is an easy way to prevent this from happening. Your contest description must include an “Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.” And “A complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant” (Source). Your post must also list the rules of your contest. You can either list them in the description along with the release or you can put a link to the complete rules in your Bio (links won’t work in the description) and direct your followers to the link. Having a contest is a great idea to create awareness of your practice and chatter online. Ensure your contest runs smoothly by following all of Instagram’s rules and conditions

Keeping up with Copyright Rules will save your account

We know that sharing and reposting photos on Instagram is the whole point of the platform, but did you know that you could be committing copyright infringement if you don’t repost or share properly? Users who take their own photos or own rights to the photo have automatic copyright protection from Instagram. This includes the event of the use of an image without consent (including reposts) which will be considered infringement. What this means for your practice is that you must ask your patients to use their photo before you can repost it, even though the photo may highlight your work.  On the bright side, most Instagram users, including your patients, will let you repost their photo for free if you tag them in the post and give them credit. If you do come across a patient that isn’t ok with the use of their photo it is better to be safe and take down the post than risk a complaint. If multiple cases of infringement claims or complaints are made against your practice account, Instagram has the right to disable your account. Also remember that you gave Instagram full use of your photos, not all of their users. Protect your own photos with this policy if another account uses your content.

Don’t let all of these rules discourage you from posting pictures of your practice and your amazing patients. Just be conscientious of what you’re posting and know your rights. Staying up to date with Instagram’s terms and conditions will insure your content stays posted and your account never gets disabled. Have your marketing company do a full sweep of your Instagram account for any potential infringement. Another set of professional eyes will save you time and headaches in the future.

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