"Can I pin this?" The legal position of Pinterest and its users: An analysis of Pinterest's data storage policies and users' trust in the service

  • Thomas Kasakowskij Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
  • Regina Kasakowskij Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
  • Kaja J. Fietkiewicz Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
Keywords: Pinterest, Social Media, Copyright, Data Storage, Law Infringements, Data Protection, Trademark

Abstract

It has been known for some time that in the digital environment enormous data streams are generated in which data is disclosed, forwarded, and stored. Once on the Internet, data is difficult to control. Often when creating and/or sharing content on the Internet, legal concerns about copyright and data protection might arise among the user as well as the platform provider. The same holds true for Pinterest, especially when considering that the main feature of the service is the possibility to re-pin (hence, collect and publicly share) content from external Web sites and from other users (i.e., someone else’s creation). It is unclear how Pinterest handles the data of its users and external Web sites and protects it from misuse.

It is also questionable whether the users familiarize themselves with terms of use, privacy policy, and the use of cookies by Pinterest as well as their legal awareness when using the service. This study contributes to resolve this uncertainty and to secure a more precise picture of how data is handled from the company’s point of view. For this purpose, an online survey with 365 participants was carried out. It was found that many users do not read the terms and conditions or guidelines but trust the service. In addition, an investigation on Pinterest’s guidelines has shown that a great deal of different data is stored and indirectly passed on to other companies. It was also found that users in the European economic area are not protected against copyright infringements when using Pinterest. This could lead to problems with state authority, at least for European users.

Published
2021-06-17
How to Cite
Kasakowskij, T., Kasakowskij, R., & Fietkiewicz, K. J. (2021). "Can I pin this?" The legal position of Pinterest and its users: An analysis of Pinterest’s data storage policies and users’ trust in the service. First Monday, 26(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i7.11477