Overview

Instagram is a platform for users to post content, including photos, videos, comments and other information. Instagram provides social interactions between users who can post comments, likes or other messages on a user's content. These interactions include direct messages between individual users, and "disappearing" messages. Instagram's terms state they collect a broad range of personal information from people using the site, and about friends and contacts of people using Instagram. Instagram's terms state they use commercially reasonable safeguards to secure a user's information collected through the Service. Instagram's terms state they use commercially reasonable safeguards to help secure a user's information collected through the service. In addition, the terms state that if Instagram learns they have collected personal information from a child under the age of 13 without parental consent, they will delete that information as quickly as possible. However, it is unclear how Instagram would learn if a user is under 13 years of age without an age-gate or collection of other birth-date information, or how a parent or guardian could even provide consent.

Instagram can be accessed through its website, and is available for download at the iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use accessed for this evaluation can be found on Instagram’s website, iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. Additionally, other policies used for this evaluation include: Community Guidelines. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Safety

Instagram's terms state it is a platform for users to post content, including photos, comments and other materials to the service and to share user content publicly. This means that other users may search, see, use, or share any user content that is posted and made publicly available through the service. In addition, Instagram's terms state they provide social interactions between users who can post comments, likes or other messages on a user's content. These interactions include direct messages between individual users, and "disappearing" messages.

Privacy

Instagram's terms state they collect a broad range of personal information from people using the site, and about friends and contacts of people using Instagram. Users of Instagram can choose to allow Instagram access to their contacts, and their Facebook friends. Instagram also provides a feature that allows people to be "found" by other users on Instagram. Instagram's terms state that users can post content such as photos, comments, and other information to the service. Users can also add information to their user content, including a specific geo-location, or an open comment. Instagram's terms state they will not rent or sell a user’s information without consent, but may share non-personal information with third-party organizations, service providers, affiliates, and advertising partners that help Instagram provide the service.

Instagram's terms state that they may combine a user’s information with other information and share de-identified and aggregated information with third-parties. Instagram may display advertisements and promotions on the service. In addition, Instagram's terms describe that a person's distinct mobile device identifier and other device-specific information may be collected and stored. This distinct identifier could be used by Instagram or third party affiliates to track and target content and advertising to users.

Security

Instagram's terms state they use commercially reasonable safeguards to help secure a user's information collected through the service. The terms also state that Instagram takes reasonable steps to verify a user's identity before granting them access to an account. However, the policies do not clearly indicate whether or not a user's data is encrypted while in transit or at rest. Instagram's terms also do not disclose how they would notify users in the event of a data breach.

Compliance

Instagram's terms state the application is not intended for, or directed to children under the age of 13, but does not state who the intended audience for its service should be. In addition, Instagram's terms state they do not knowingly collect or solicit any information from anyone under the age of 13. However, the service would likely appeal to children under 13 years of age, which would take into account several factors that include the subject matter, visual content, and activities provided. The terms also state that if Instagram learns they have collected personal information from a child under the age of 13 without parental consent, they will delete that information as quickly as possible. However, it is unclear how Instagram would learn if a user is under 13 years of age without an age-gate or collection of other birth-date information, or how a parent or guardian could even provide consent. Lastly, if Instagram is used within an educational context information stored in the app could be considered an education record under FERPA. Any educator using Instagram in an educational context should be aware of their obligations under FERPA, and of their school or district's policies around parental consent and educational records.

Overall Score

Every privacy rating includes an overall score. A higher score (up to 100%) means the product provides more transparent privacy policies with better practices to protect user data. The score is best used is as an indicator of how much additional work a person will need to do to make an informed decision about a product.

Basic ScoreFull Score
Comprehensive Assessment5748

Concerns

The privacy evaluation process summarizes the policies of an application or service into concern categories based on a subset of evaluation questions that can be used to quickly identify particular practices of a vendor’s policies. These concerns are composed of evaluation questions that can be used to calculate scores relative to that concern.

ConcernBasic ScoreFull Score
Data Collection: Protecting personal information5060
Data Sharing: Protecting data from third parties7580
Data Security: Protecting against unauthorized access3330
Data Rights: Controlling rights to data8885
Data Sold: Preventing sale of data7530
Data Safety: Promoting responsible use7580
Ads & Tracking: Prohibiting the exploitation of users' decision making process4235
Parental Consent: Protecting children’s personal information3320
School Purpose: Following student data privacy laws5025

Statutes

Each statute or regulation is associated with one or more evaluation questions. As such, we can calculate scores for each statute or regulation using only those questions associated with the statute or regulation. Each specific statute or regulation's score serves as an indirect proxy indicating the likelihood of the application or service satisfying all of its compliance obligations.

StatuteBasic ScoreFull Score
California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)7565
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)6150
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)7247
Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA)6961
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)6152

Privacy Policy Details

1: Transparency

1.1: Policy Version
  • Privacy policies do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Privacy policies do not indicate a changelog or past policy version is available.
1.2: Policy Notice
  • Users are notified if there are any material changes to the policies.
  • Privacy policies indicate the method used to notify a user when policies are updated.
1.3: Policy Changes
  • Users are notified prior to any material changes to the policies.
  • Changes to the policies are effective immediately and continued use of the product indicates consent.
1.4: Policy Coverage
  • Privacy policies indicate the products that are covered by the policies.
1.5: Policy Contact
  • Users can contact the vendor about any privacy policy questions, complaints, or material changes to the policies.
1.6: Policy Principles
  • Privacy policies do not indicate any privacy principles, layered notices, or a table of contents.
1.7: Policy Language
  • Privacy policies are available in multiple languages.
1.8: Intended Use
  • Not intended for children under 13.
  • Intended for teens.
  • Intended for adults over 18.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Intended for students.
  • Intended for teachers.

2: Focused Collection

2.1: Data Collection
  • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
  • The categories of collected personally identifiable information are indicated.
  • Geolocation data are collected.
  • Biometric or health data are collected.
  • Behavioral data are collected.
  • Sensitive data are collected.
  • Non-personally identifiable information is collected.
  • Unclear whether free or reduced lunch status is collected.
2.2: Data Source
  • Personal information or education records are collected from preK-12 students.
  • Unclear whether this product collects personal information online from children under 13 years of age.
2.3: Data Exclusion
  • Unclear whether specific types of personal information are not collected.
  • Unclear whether specific types of collected information are excluded from the privacy policy.
2.4: Data Limitation
  • Collection or use of data is not limited to product requirements.

3: Data Sharing

3.1: Data Shared With Third Parties
  • Collected information is shared with third parties.
  • Unclear whether the categories of information shared with third parties are indicated.
3.2: Data Use by Third Parties
  • The purpose for sharing a user's personal information with third parties is indicated.
  • Data are shared for analytics.
  • Data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
3.3: Data Not Shared With Third Parties
  • Specific categories of information are not shared with third parties.
3.4: Data Sold to Third Parties
  • Data are not sold or rented to third parties.
3.5: Third-Party Data Acquisition
  • Personal information from users is acquired from third parties.
3.6: Third-Party Links
  • Unclear whether links to third-party external websites are age-appropriate.
3.7: Third-Party Data Access
  • Third parties are authorized to access a user's information.
3.8: Third-Party Data Collection
  • Personal information of users is collected by a third party.
3.9: Third-Party Data Misuse
  • Personal information can be deleted from a third party if found to be misused.
3.10: Third-Party Service Providers
  • Data are shared with third-party service providers.
  • The roles of third-party service providers are indicated.
3.11: Third-Party Affiliates
  • The categories of third parties that receive personal information are indicated.
3.12: Third-Party Policies
  • Unclear whether links to privacy policies of third-party companies are available.
3.13: Third-Party Data Combination
  • Data can be combined with data from third-party sources.
  • Unclear whether data shared with third parties can be combined by third parties for their own purposes.
3.14: Third-Party Authentication
  • Social or federated login is supported.
  • Personal information from social or federated login providers is collected.
  • Personal Information is shared with social or federated login providers.
3.15: De-identified or Anonymized Data
  • User information is shared in an anonymous or deidentified format.
  • Unclear whether the vendor describes their deidentification process of user information.
3.16: Third-Party Contractual Obligations
  • Contractual limits are placed on third-party data use.
  • Unclear whether contractual limits prohibit third parties from reidentifying deidentified information.

4: Respect for Context

4.1: Data Use
  • Unclear whether use of information is limited to the purpose for which it was collected.
  • The purpose for which data atr collected is indicated.
4.2: Data Combination
  • Unclear whether this product treats combined information as personally identifiable information (PII).
4.3: Data Notice
  • Unclear whether notice is provided if the context in which data are collected changes.
4.4: Data Changes
  • Unclear whether consent is obtained if the practices in which data are collected change.
4.5: Policy Enforcement
  • Accounts may be terminated if users engage in any prohibited activities.

5: Individual Control

5.1: User Content
  • Users can create or upload content.
5.2: User Consent
  • Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
5.3: Remedy Process
  • Unclear whether a grievance or remedy mechanism is available for users to file a complaint.
5.4: Data Settings
  • Users can control their information through privacy settings.
5.5: Data Disclosure
  • Unclear whether users can opt out from the disclosure or sale of their data to a third party.
  • Unclear whether users can request to know what personal information has been shared with third parties for commercial purposes.
  • Unclear whether notice is provided in the event the vendor receives a government or legal request for a user’s information.
5.6: Intellectual Property
  • Users retain ownership of their data.
  • A copyright license is not claimed to data or content collected from a user.
  • Unclear whether any copyright license to a user's data is limited in scope or duration.
  • Unclear whether notice is provided to users when their content is removed or disabled because of an alleged copyright violation.

6: Access and Accuracy

6.1: Data Access
  • Processes to access and review user data are available.
  • Unclear whether permissions, roles, or access controls are available to restrict who has access to data.
  • Unclear whether the school, parents, or students can review data.
6.2: Data Integrity
  • The vendor does not maintain the accuracy of data they collect.
6.3: Data Correction
  • Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
  • Processes for the school, parents, or students to modify data are available.
  • The time period for the vendor to modify inaccurate data is indicated.
6.4: Data Retention
  • A data-retention policy is available.
  • The retention time period of a user's data can be changed upon a valid inspection request.
6.5: Data Deletion
  • Data are deleted when no longer necessary.
  • A user's data are deleted upon account cancellation or termination.
  • Processes to delete user data are not available.
  • Processes for the school, parents, or students to delete data are available.
  • The time period for the vendor to delete data is indicated.
6.6: Data Portability
  • Processes to download user data are available.
  • Unclear whether a user can assign an authorized account manager or legacy contact.

7: Data Transfer

7.1: Data Handling
  • User information can be transferred to a third party.
  • Notice is provided to users if the vendor assigns its rights or delegates its duties to another company.
  • Unclear whether users are notified if their information is transferred to a third party.
7.2: Transfer Request
  • Unclear whether user information can be deleted prior to its transfer to a third party.
7.3: Onward Contractual Obligations
  • Unclear whether third-party transfers are contractually required to use the same privacy practices.

8: Security

8.1: User Identity
  • A user's identity is not verified with additional personal information.
8.2: User Account
  • Account creation is required.
  • Unclear whether parental controls or managed accounts are available.
  • Unclear whether two-factor account protection is available.
8.3: Third-Party Security
  • Unclear whether third-party contractual security protections are required.
8.4: Data Confidentiality
  • Industry best practices are used to protect data.
  • Unclear whether this product limits employee or physical access to user information.
8.5: Data Transmission
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data in transit.
8.6: Data Storage
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data at rest.
  • Personal information of users is not stored with a third party.
8.7: Data Breach
  • Unclear whether this product provides notice in the event of a data breach.
8.8: Data Oversight
  • Unclear whether this product performs data-privacy and security-compliance audits.

9: Responsible Use

9.1: Social Interactions
  • Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
  • Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information is shared for social interactions.
9.2: Data Visibility
  • Personal information is displayed publicly.
  • Users can control how their data are displayed.
9.3: Monitor and Review
  • User-created content is reviewed, screened, or monitored by the vendor.
  • User-created content is not filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
  • Social interactions between users are moderated.
  • Social interactions of users are logged.
9.4: Report Content
  • Unclear whether users can filter or block inappropriate content.
  • Users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
9.5: Internet Safety
  • The vendor provides links to tools or processes that support safe and appropriate social interactions.

10: Advertising

10.1: Vendor Communications
  • A user can receive service- or administrative-related communications from the vendor.
10.2: Traditional Advertising
  • Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
10.3: Behavioral Advertising
  • Behavioral or targeted advertising is displayed.
10.4: Ad Tracking
  • Data are collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Data are used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are created and used for data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
10.5: Filtered Advertising
  • Unclear whether children may receive inappropriate advertisements.
10.6: Marketing Communications
  • The vendor can send marketing messages.
  • The vendor does provide promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
10.7: Unsubscribe
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to opt-out of traditional, contextual, or behavioral advertising.
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to opt out or unsubscribe from marketing communications.
10.8: Do Not Track
  • Unclear whether this product responds to Do Not Track or other opt-out mechanisms.
  • Unclear whether the vendor provides a method for users to opt-out from third-party tracking.

11: Compliance

11.1: Children Under 13
  • Unclear whether vendor has actual knowledge that personal information from users under 13 years of age is collected.
  • Unclear whether children's privacy is applicable.
  • Unclear whether this product restricts account creation for users under 13 years of age.
  • Unclear whether this product restricts in-app purchases for users under 13 years of age.
  • Unclear whether the vendor participates in an FTC-approved COPPA safe harbor program.
11.2: Students in K–12
  • Unclear whether this product is primarily used by, designed for, and marketed toward students in grades preK–12.
  • Unclear whether the product creates education records.
  • Unclear whether this product provides notification of a contract or additional rights.
  • Unclear whether this product designates the vendor as a school official.
11.3: Parental Consent
  • Unclear whether this product requires parental consent.
  • Unclear whether this product limits parental consent with respect to third parties.
  • Unclear whether this product allows parents to withdraw consent for the further collection of their child's information.
  • Unclear whether this product deletes children's personal information if collected without parental consent.
  • Unclear whether this product provides parental consent notice and method for submission.
  • Unclear whether the vendor can use collected information to support the “internal operations” of the product.
  • Unclear whether this product indicates COPPA parental consent exceptions.
  • Unclear whether the vendor indicates FERPA parental consent exceptions.
  • Unclear whether this product discloses directory information.
  • Unclear whether this product transfers parental consent obligations to the school or district.
11.4: Legal Requirements
  • The legal jurisdiction that applies to the laws governing any dispute is indicated.
  • A user is required to waive the right to a jury trial, or settle any disputes by arbitration.
  • A user is required to waive the right to join a class action lawsuit.
  • A vendor will disclose personal information to law enforcement.
11.5: Certification
  • Unclear whether the vendor has signed a privacy pledge or received a privacy certification.
11.6: International Laws
  • Unclear whether a user's data are subject to International data transfer or jurisdiction laws, such as the GDPR.
  • Unclear whether the vendor has indicated it is a Data Controller or Data Processor.