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TOP 3 Instagram Warnings From a Social Media Lawyer

As a social media lawyer, many of my clients ask for my most important legal tips for Instagram. 

While Instagram is a great platform that many influencers and creators use as a steady source of income 💰, it also comes with legal risks, as all social media sites do.

Therefore, I ALWAYS advise my clients to pay careful attention 👀 to these TOP legal warnings for Instagram:

⚠️ ALWAYS read the terms of use ⚠️

Instagram’s terms of use outline exactly what you need to know to stay out of legal trouble on the app. In fact, all social media creators should read the terms of use for every social platform they use, as they all differ.

Believe it or not, you may be surprised 😮 by some of the sites’ rules and guidelines.

For example, did you know that Instagram has its own guidelines for hosting giveaways and other types of contests? Brands commonly use promotions to gain followers or sell products, but many don’t always follow Instagram’s rules.

For instance, users must write ✍️ and share the terms and conditions of their promotions in an easily accessible place. 

Further, these terms must specify eligibility and describe the prize in detail, in addition to other requirements.

Additionally, Instagrammers hosting promotions MUST state somewhere in their terms and conditions that Instagram is in no way 🙅‍♂️ associated with the sweepstakes. 

That being said, Instagram’s terms of use do not only provide rules for promotions. Instead, the social platform also provides strict guidelines for everyday use.

From copyright and fair use to inappropriate behavior, Instagram’s rules touch on it all. Thus, if influencers want to continue earning revenue 💸 from their Instagram accounts, they must read and become familiar with the terms of use.

⚠️ Be CAREFUL with music! ⚠️

One of the most common problems I see as a social media lawyer is music 🎵 copyright on Instagram. 

Unfortunately, Instagram copyright flags almost always result in video takedowns, which can be problematic for influencers – especially those involved in brand deals.

Luckily, abiding by some general rules and consulting a social media attorney can play key roles in avoiding music copyright flags 🚩 on Instagram.

For example, I always recommend that my clients use no more than one to three seconds ⏱️ of a verse or otherwise less recognizable portion of a copyrighted song in their Instagram posts if relying on the doctrine of fair use.

On the other hand, for those interested in longer music clips, there are websites such as FyrFly on which you can purchase licenses to popular songs 🎹! Otherwise, social media creators may elect to use royalty free music, or music that has already been licensed for their use, so they don’t have to worry about copyright issues or flags.

Ultimately, consulting a social media lawyer about your use of music on Instagram is a great idea for every content creator. In fact, it could end up saving your videos – or your account! – from a copyright takedown ⬇️.

⚠️ DON’T upset the algorithm ⚠️

Instagram’s algorithm is incredibly nuanced, and takes a ton of factors into consideration when determining the placement of your posts. 

While some Instagrammers have complained in the past about a “shadowban” on the platform, the reality is if you’re adhering to the community guidelines, Instagram will not mess with your account 🤷‍♂️.

Therefore, it’s important to understand how the Instagram algorithm works, what it likes, and what it doesn’t.

For example, hiring services or using bots 🤖 to enhance your likes, shares, or comments will alert the algorithm to take action against your account. Likewise, copyright infringement is another red flag.

Furthermore, be VERY careful to avoid any activity that may be perceived as spam. More specifically, avoid overusing the most popular hashtags, and never ⛔ tag people who don’t appear in your photos. 

Also, be sure to keep spammy comments such as “Follow for follow?” to yourself, and don’t play the follow/unfollow game to keep your “ratio” looking good.

Finally, try not to post too often. Believe it or not, even posting three times a day is enough to set off the algorithm and alert the platform of a potential spam account. 

Ultimately, following Instagram’s guidelines and terms of use is a perfect way to avoid upsetting the algorithm and keep your account safe 🛡️!