“Pinterest” and the Importance of Ethics

Over the past year or so, Pinterest has grown dramatically and reached millions of “pinners” around the world.  Pinterest is in short, a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize, create, and share beautiful interests on the web with family and friends.  Some of the most common pinboards include, home decor, weddings, travel and places, health and beauty, and people’s favorite recipes.  One of the most intriguing aspects of Pinterest, is its idea that you have the freedom to post, share or repin what you desire.  This at the same time  can cause some controversy.

Given Pinterest’s flexibility and freedom, as a business and a social network, the company has to be aware of all ethical issues that can come into play.  At the start of your Pinterest experience, you are encouraged to understand and forego “pin etiquette.”  The “guidelines are based on collective input from people using pinterest.”  In general, they suggest that all pinners be respectful, authentic, credit your sources, report objectionable content, and tell us (the business) how to make Pinterest better.  All in all, Pin etiquette is aimed to help create a positive community centered around people’s common interests.

In terms of Pinterest’s Terms of Agreement,

“You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services. Accordingly, you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms; and (ii) neither the Member Content nor your posting, uploading, publication, submission or transmittal of the Member Content or Cold Brew Labs’ use of the Member Content (or any portion thereof) on, through or by means of the Site, Application and the Services will infringe, misappropriate or violate a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other proprietary or intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy, or result in the violation of any applicable law or regulation.”

In short, the terms state that Pinterest is not responsible for the content you post, it is considered “user content.”  This prevents the company from being liable and getting sued for user content.  Many people do not realize that this is the same terms asked by Facebook as well.  The terms clearly explain in detail all information needed to protect both users and the company. Pinterest makes sure to maintain and encourage a positive community which is made clear in their terms of agreement. Do to their positive input, most pinners maintain the same ethics and encourage others to embody the same values through the Pinterest community.

Given this information, I believe that the ethical standards of the business have been taken seriously and dealt with upfront.  Pinterest clearly understands the possible ethical issues that can arise from social networking and sharing content, which is why their terms of use is in such great detail and continuing to change.  The newest form of their terms of agreement came into effect on April 6, 2012.


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