Dec 26th, 2012

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]