Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Instagram privacy update triggers first class-action lawsuit

Instagram photo sharing service has been hit with what appears to be the first civil lawsuit to result from changed service terms that prompted howls of protest last week.

Facebook's Instagram photo sharing service has been hit with what appears to be the first civil lawsuit to result from changed service terms that prompted howls of protest last week.

In a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court on Friday, an Instagram user from California levelled breach of contract and other claims against the company.

"We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously," Andrew Noyes, the Facebook spokesman, said in an email.

Instagram, which allows people to add filters and effects to photos and share them easily on the internet, was acquired by Facebook earlier this year for $715 million.

In announcing revised terms of service last week, Instagram spurred suspicions that it would sell user photos without compensation. It also announced a mandatory arbitration clause, forcing users to waive their rights to participate in a class action lawsuit except under very limited circumstances.

The current terms of service, in effect through mid-January, contain no such liability shield.

The backlash prompted Instagram founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom to retreat partially a few days later, deleting language about displaying photos without compensation.

However, Instagram kept language that gave it the ability to place ads in conjunction with user content, and saying "that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such." It also kept the mandatory arbitration clause.

The lawsuit, filed by law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk, says customers who do not agree with Instagram's terms can cancel their profile but then forfeit rights to photos they had previously shared on the service.

"In short, Instagram declares that 'possession is nine-tenths of the law and if you don't like it, you can't stop us,'" the lawsuit says.

Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who had criticised Instagram, said he was pleased that the company rolled back some of the advertising terms and agreed to better explain their plans in the future.

However, he said the new terms no longer contain language which had explicitly promised that private photos would remain private. Facebook had engendered criticism in the past, Mr Opsahl said, for changing settings so that the ability to keep some information private was no longer available.

"Hopefully, Instagram will learn from that experience and refrain from removing privacy settings," Mr Opsahl said.

* Reuters

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2014 will run until April 24, 2014. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National.

In pictures: Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2014 opens
at Adnec

Key developments and master plans are being unveiled at this year’s property exhibition in the capital.

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Designed by London-based Thomas Heatherwick, founder of Heatherwick studio, the park will feature an outdoor cinema, an organic garden, picnic areas and cafes and restaurants. Photo courtesy Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation

Futuristic Abu Dhabi park to be built in the desert shade

Spread over 125,000 square metres, Al Fayah Park, on Airport Road, will be covered by a sand-coloured canopy, 20 metres high, with the appearance of cracked desert land from above.

 Room with a view from one of the 21 duplex penthouses located in the Gate Towers sky-bridge. The sports courts and swimming pools can be seen below. Courtesy Alda

In pictures: Aldar’s Gate Towers Penthouse Collection on Reem Island

Aldar launched its Gate Towers Penthouse Collection at Cityscape Abu Dhabi. The launch features 21 penthouses spanning the skybridge, with each having a private indoor pool and incredible views.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National