Why You Need To Read The Small Print

One of the more popular Instagram tips for fashion and beauty bloggers is to tag the brand that you’re wearing something from so they will see the post and hopefully share it on their social channels, which will obviously lead to thousands of new followers for you. Soundsperfect, right? Well, perhaps not.

Some brands will just repost pictures that have their username or hashtag attached to them, and may not ask – they may not even tell you they’re going to repost your photo, you’ll just get a notification from them tagging you (hopefully!). We’ve discussed in the past about reposting other peoples content, so hopefully the brands have beenvreading that as well.

However, sometimes a brand will spot your image and ask you to reply back to them using a hashtag to give your consent. Like most people, we’ve never really given this much thought – the comment will be something like “Please reply with the hashtag #okbrand to be featured on our media channels – t&c’s: [link]” and most of us will just reply with the hashtag without reading the terms and conditions. Why wouldn’t you? It’s a brand you probably love, who have a big audience and who are asking if they can feature you in some way. You’d be crazy to say no!

That’s what we thought, until we saw Hayley Hall’s tweet this month:

Boots will leave a comment like this:

Since links in posts and comments aren’t clickable, most people will probably just agree to the company using the image, but it’s worth looking at what you’re saying yes tto first.

As Hayley points out in a later tweet, by saying Yes, you’re giving Boots some pretty interesting rights over your work. 

It’s not just Boots who do this. Other brands like Target, AirBNB and McDonald’s do the same – all include some variation in their terms and conditions that said something like  “if you agree to us using your image, we can do what we want with that image, including using it in advertising”. This is concerning as the image may be of your face, or your child, and you might not want that to be broadcast around the world, linked forever to a brand.

Brands have found that user generated content is a cheap and easy way to generate content, and while it can be useful for other customers to see the products in a real life setting, we should all be taking more care on checking what exactly we’re agreeing to.

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