About a year ago, research for If Emily Posted opened my eyes to the sheer number of third party apps that violate the Terms of Service provided with the API for developers. With a focus on Instagram apps, which were blowing up across the interwebs, I went to work getting in touch with developers believing in what IEP has taught me again and again – sometimes people make mistakes simply because they don’t understand the rules.
The good news? A few totally took the responsibility and did something about it. STAT.
The not so good news? Whether they made changes or not, most had NO IDEA they were breaking the TOS – because they’d never read them.
So, it shouldn’t surprise me when I see a new app breaking the rules. And yet, it still does.
It began with few images in my Instagram feed with a blue bar across the bottom displaying another user’s avatar and username. Last night, I checked out what it was.
“Do more than like it – Repost it.” This is the tag line on the App Store page for the Repost to Instagram app, Repostapp, which is a super simple and free way to REPOST the Instagrams you love.
Except here’s the thing: no one has the right to repost an Instagram.
I know it’s an oldie, but an early IEP rule that still applies: Giving credit isn’t getting permission.
Reposting and reblogging are terms I’m seeing across social media. And it’s generally nothing more than a fancy way of saying: this isn’t mine but I’m sharing it with you.
FACT: Just because new words enter the social media lexicon doesn’t make them acceptable.
Granted, there are times when an Instagram repost is a nonissue. Friends screenshot and repost images on Instagram often, and that’s between friends and generally cool. But an app with the express purpose, the only purpose, to make reposting a thing – not cool.
On the App Store site, they write:
“Stop the screenshot & cropping nonsense.”
Um, no. Instead, it’s time we stop this nonsense amongst third party developers who toss aside TOS. The Repostapp has a huge following, and while I think those that download the app need to take responsibility for disregarding the TOS, there’s a false sense of OK when people see an app that offers them tools that they shouldn’t have. The responsibility falls on both.
A developer friend once told me that an app developer’s goal is to see what they can make possible, not necessarily what they should make possible, once an API is in their hands. And many sites, like Instagram, do a less than stellar job of monitoring third party apps.
I know Repostapp isn’t alone in this. There is at least one other app that does the same thing. It’s not OK. They need to be taken down by the App Store and I’m reaching out to the developers. Youre welcome to do the same. We’ll see what happens.