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First Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Instagram

Posted by JenThorpe at 3:14 PM on December 24, 2012

InstagramWell, that didn’t take long! The first class action lawsuit against Instagram has been filed. This civil lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The case is called “Lucy Funes, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs. Instagram Inc.”. It was filed by a San Diego based law firm called Filkelstein & Krinsk.

As you may have guessed, this lawsuit is about Instagram’s recent change to its terms of service. After much public outcry, (and a lot of people removing their photos from Instagram and taking them elsewhere), Instagram did make a modification to the unpopular change in its terms of service.

However, the lawsuit is in regards to a portion of the terms that are still there. Instagram kept in the wording that gives it the ability to take user content (the photos people put on Instagram), and place ads in conjunction with that content. There is a part of the terms of service that is still in effect that says that Instagram “may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such”.

The lawsuit is also about another issue related to the first one. People who used Instagram, but didn’t like the new terms of service, had no option other than to cancel their profile. Many did exactly that. However, the lawsuit notes that users who have canceled their profile then forfeit rights to their photos that they once shared through Instagram.

In response, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes had this to say to Reuters:

We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously.

When Instagram changed its terms of service, it included a mandatory arbitration clause. In short, that basically means that users who didn’t like the new terms of service could not sue Instagram. It would result in unhappy users waiving their rights to participate in a class action lawsuit.

However, that portion of the new terms of service doesn’t take effect until sometime in January of 2013. This means that it is possible for “all others similarly situated” to become a part of this class action lawsuit.