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Instagram is a popular social media site that your business may use to engage with customers. You can display your products in a visually appealing format and customers can buy directly through the app. Creating an Instagram account is a relatively simple process, and you can connect it with other social media sites as well. However, this greater connectivity brings more significant privacy risks. When your business collects personal information, like customer photos or financial details, you have certain legal obligations tied to your handling of that information. This applies even when you use another company’s site, like Instagram. For some guidance, this article will go through four privacy tips for your business using Instagram.

1. Read Up On How Instagram Uses Your Information

You will likely access your business’ Instagram account from your work phone or computer. Instagram collects information from the devices it is on, and you may not immediately be aware of how much they use. This means that if you or your employees access your business’ Instagram account from your device, Instagram will collect your personal information as well. 

The information Instagram collects includes the following.

Device Information

Such as hardware, software, downloaded apps, storage space, Wi-Fi signals, and battery life.

Device Operations

What apps you use, mouse movements, and which apps you send to the background.

Connections

This includes network strength, connection speed, and mobile number.

Device settings

Such as location data and access to photos on your phone.

Unique identifiers

Cookies from other connected apps like Facebook track the content you engage with. These bring you targeted ads.

Instagram also keeps any information you give them, such as the content you post or any personal information you use in your account. It is essential to be aware of this information for your privacy. It is also vital to know what customers’ personal information you give Instagram, as this may engage your privacy obligations surrounding disclosure. Look into your Instagram privacy settings so you know exactly what you are sharing. For example, say you post a picture of a customer enjoying your food to your business’ Instagram account. This photo can identify them, so you are sharing their personal information with Instagram and your followers. Therefore, you need to inform the customer and get their consent to post the photo.

2. Inform Your Customers

If you will use any of your customers’ personal information, such as their images or names on your Instagram posts, you need to tell them and get their permission. This applies any time you collect personal information from your customers as well. Similar to Facebook, you can use customer information to target ads towards certain groups on Instagram.

When you use customer information for this purpose, you need to take reasonable steps to inform them that you are doing so. If you fail to tell your customers you are using their information in this way, they can complain to the Privacy Commission about an interference with their privacy.

3. Have Your Privacy Policy Accessible

Your privacy policy is a good place to tell your customers what information you collect about them through Instagram. You would typically have this as an accessible page on your website, which you would link to in your Instagram bio. Note that if your business has developed an app that you want to connect to Instagram, you must have an easily findable privacy policy.

Among other personal information you collect, your privacy policy should cover:

  • what personal information you collect through your Instagram account;
  • what you use the information for, such as sharing for Instagram advertising;
  • whether your customers can opt-out of giving you personal information;
  • the consequences of opting out; and 
  • your contact details.

4. Protect Your Account

Your business’ Instagram account can handle sensitive customer information, including:

  • customers’ credit card details when they pay through the app;
  • private direct message conversations with customers; and
  • customers’ shipping details when they purchase a product.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you adequately protect your Instagram account. Limit access to only those that need it, and have a strong password. Instagram also allows two-factor authentication, providing an additional method of identity verification at login to add greater security and reduce unauthorised access.

Key Takeaways

Creating an Instagram account for your business can be an excellent way to engage your customers and maintain interest in your business’ products or services. Instagram also provides targeted advertising features and direct purchasing capability through your posts. However, this convenience brings more significant privacy risks for you and your customers. The law requires that you handle any personal information with due care, so you must be careful about how much customer information you share with Instagram. If you would like more information or help managing your business’ privacy obligations on Instagram, contact LegalVision’s data, privacy, and IT lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should my business create an Instagram account?

Many people use Instagram and follow businesses that they like and engage with their posts. Your business can use Instagram as a way of drawing customers to your business. It can also help you to advertise to your target market.

Does Instagram have any privacy risks?

Instagram collects a lot of information from its users, including the information you provide for your business account. Some of this information will be personal information, so you need to consider the privacy implications of disclosing this kind of data.

What privacy obligations do I owe my customers when I use Instagram?

When you share your customers’ personal information with Instagram, you need to tell them that you are doing so. You should only share such information where it is necessary to. You also need to ensure you protect your account privacy.

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