Instagram faces class-action lawsuit for proposed terms update

Instagram's recent proposal to update its terms of service left many users of the photo-sharing social network unhappy, and now one Instagram user has filed a lawsuit against the Facebook subsidiary regarding the proposed terms.

According to a new report from Reuters, a California user of the service has filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract, among other claims, for Instagram's attempt to update its terms of service. Instagram's proposed update to its terms of service, which it has since decided to abandon, led to speculation that the social network was attempting to gain the right to sell users' photos. That speculation turned out to be incorrect, as the updated terms would not have given Instagram that right.

The class-action lawsuit, which was filed Friday, claims consumers who don't agree with Instagram's new terms of service – should they be implemented – are able to remove their profiles but lose access to all the previous photos and content they shared. Those photos would then remain under Instagram's control, the lawsuit argues, because users who remove their profiles forfeit their previous rights to the photos.

A Facebook representative provided Reuters with the following comment regarding the lawsuit: "We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously."

The class-action lawsuit also comes before the proposed terms of service would have prohibited such actions against Instagram in the future. As part of the new terms, users would have been required to use mandatory arbitration for most disputes with the company.

Source: Reuters | Image via Instagram

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

No more silent extensions in Chrome 25

Next Story

Rumour: Thinner and lighter iPad 5 due in March

13 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

it doesnt matter if its free, you can ask everything, at the end they give a public service so even with that you are not tied to their wishes...its like this..if you vote for something you have a right to ask...but even the ppl that decides not to vote has the right to ask just because they live in the country and they are citizens...the business model to make it free its not our problem, its abenefit in some way for us, and they cannot do whatever they want with your stuff even if its free..they dont have the right to manipulate....

there is not such model as free...the PSN its not free with every game that they sell its implicit that you are paying for the online service.

Why are supposedly intelligent people shocked or outraged that information/images they have put out on the Internet was, "like magic," going to be kept private? How naive.

Remember: Anything you post on the Internet is as if you put it out on a NYC Times Square marque. Its that simple.

TsarNikky said,
Why are supposedly intelligent people shocked or outraged that information/images they have put out on the Internet was, "like magic," going to be kept private? How naive.

Remember: Anything you post on the Internet is as if you put it out on a NYC Times Square marque. Its that simple.


The issue was that Instagram's proposed changes to the TOS gave them the right to use your photos without your permission or compensation (less important). Despite the fact that Instagram retracted this and clarified they'd never do that, the legal jargon was ambiguous at best and could really be taken any which way.

Why is this different from public domain? Even if they wouldn't, they could sell a picture of your face to an ad company photoshopping you into a crackwhore in the ghetto for some sort of ad campaign with implied truth to the photo. Let's pretend someone would ever do this. If this was simply taken off the web, you could legally order them to take it all down. But if Instagram has the right to sell your photos without your permission (somewhere down the line in the future), the photo is theirs to sell and by virtue, you would have no legal right to do anything about the ad.

Now imagine some teen star's instagram, I dunno, Justin Bieber's Instagram and they use his face for an ad campaign. See the legal issues already? Now imagine some random user's instagram who met Angelina Jolie and posted a picture on Instagram, now Instagram can sell this to an advertising campaign for pro-rights? Now Angelina Jolie is pro-life.

It's a farshot for sure, but companies in the past have done way worse than this without breaking a sweat (dumping toxic chemicals in people's backyard affecting their well water), selling pictures to ad companies for profit is a minor ethical issue for companies. If the legal language is ambiguous towards some as simple as selling your photos, then they could at any time take advantage of it.

That is the problem.

Some other site found something in the ToS where you could opt-out of your right to file a class action lawsuit by mailing in a form. Hope this guy did it!

djdanster said,
It's a free service, if you don't like it, don't use it!

there are not such thing as a free service. At least not legally or economically.

The Playstation Network is also a free service, yet some of its users were clearly annoyed enough to plan a class action lawsuit when the hacking began.

Denis W said,
The Playstation Network is also a free service, yet some of its users were clearly annoyed enough to plan a class action lawsuit when the hacking began.

The fact CC numbers were involved in the PSN hack kinda changes things a bit.