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Instagram gets hit with class-action lawsuit, but will it matter?

Instagram knows first hand that someone is always willing to read the terms of service agreement no matter how many people claim to skip right to that big “accept” button. The Facebook-owned company came under heavy fire earlier this month when it revised its terms of service to include some troubling language in regards to advertising. While advertisements themselves are fine, it is how Instagram looked to do it that had people worried.

Specifically, Instagram took it upon themselves to reserve the right to use any photos you upload to the service in advertisements, and that’s without any prior permission or without any royalties. Private photos were in the safe zone in that regard, but the terms pretty much gave Instagram the right to use your public photos however they wished.

Most people mistook the company’s language to mean that Instagram claimed ownership of photos uploaded to the service, but that was not the case. Finally, Instagram noted that advertisements could appear within the same timeline that you use to view posts from friends and family, but this wasn’t as much of an issue.

The community immediately voiced its concern, and the downpour of distaste was more than enough to be effective. The company ended up reverting its terms of service to help calm the nerves of its users, though a lot of people were still keen on picking up shop and taking their photo-posting business elsewhere.

That wasn’t enough for some people, though, as Instagram has been hit with a class-action lawsuit. Facebook is confident it’ll beat the lawsuit — after all, there isn’t much to battle. The terms have been cleared up for the most part, and even with the clause that allows Instagram to retain and use your photos for advertisement following account deactivation it’s in the company’s right to do so. You accepted the terms, so you’ll have to accept the bad with the good.

I’m not saying users should lie down and take everything a company dishes out without a peep, but there’s a reason why most class-action lawsuits over changes in a company’s terms of use tend to go nowhere. Keep voicing your opinion, folks — it does matter. But know that this lawsuit will be like a fly on the wall compared to more pressing issues Facebook and Instagram have to deal with every day. We’ll keep an eye on this one regardless.

[via Reuters]




  • iameari

    Just dont use there service anymore if your that worryed about it haha

  • Lennatron

    They deserve to get hit with a lawsuit.

  • itmustbejj

    Idiot consumer: Joins class-action lawsuit against Instagram for privacy violations…posts about it on Facebook.

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      lmao. There’s no doubt that a lot of people are just caught up in the heat of the moment. Most don’t realize that Facebook’s terms might be a lot worse, at that.

    • http://twitter.com/MaureenTMcClain Maureen T. McClain

      You accepted the terms, so you’ll have to accept the bad with the good. http://www.HappyChristmasWithGoogle.qr.net/j0NQ/Job2013=v13O9PsjDSM

      • itmustbejj

        I hate you. I hope you get SuperAIDS you spammer piece of crap.

  • Jdog25

    The problem is that they were making the TOS better and now they are going to leave them the way they were because people didn’t read the old TOS. I think theverge.com is one of the only sites that explained how the new TOS was actually better but nobody listened.

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/18/3780158/instagrams-new-terms-of-service-what-they-really-mean

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/20/3790312/instagram-reverts-to-original-terms-of-service-after-public-outcry

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/21/3791786/why-the-instagram-debacle-just-taught-every-tech-company-to-be/in/3554601

    Nilay Patel wrote “That certainly sounds like a win for consumers, but it’s actually a loss: the newly-reinstated terms of service clause is objectively worse for users than the new one, and it’s worded far more vaguely — the language feels familiar and comforting, but you’re giving up more rights to your photos. Instead of agreeing that Instagram may only “display” photos “in connection with” advertising, users will now continue to agree that Instagram may place advertising and promotions “on, about, or in conjunction with” their photos.”

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    BOYCOTT!

  • rsanchez1

    Probably some money-hungry lawyer badgered all the poor misinformed Instagram users to file a class-action lawsuit, whipped them up into a frenzy so that he’ll be laughing his way to the bank. How’s that for a Christmas bonus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidalanbrand David Brand

    The problem is that most people that use smartphones are complete and utter morons.

    • Matthew Merrick

      Most PEOPLE are complete and utter morons. >_> smartphone ownership really has nothing to do with it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/davidalanbrand David Brand

        True ! But combined they create egos of enormous size, and people that narcissistic tend to see something but not even coming close to understanding it. Just irks me.

        • Matthew Merrick

          you have described by dislike of humanity pretty well. let me add to what you said though:

          “…tend to see something but not even coming close to understanding it” or giving a damn, unless they think it affects their own personal interests, in which case they start a crusade against it