Changing terms of service leads to breach of contract lawsuit

January 2, 2013

Instagram is facing a breach of contract lawsuit in California after consumers complained about service terms changing without their consent.

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco federal court, alleging breach of contract and other claims against Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook.

Instagram allows users to take photos and add filters or effects to pictures and share the photos online. The company recently announced revised terms of service to users, prompting many complaints by users over the changes to the terms of service.

Many users became concerned that Instagram would start selling their pictures without compensating users. They also were concerned with the revised terms that forced users to agree to a mandatory arbitration clause that would limit their ability to file a class action lawsuit.

After the outcry from many users, Instagram took off the revisions about displaying users' photos without paying them. However, the company kept the revisions about the mandatory arbitration clause as well as allowing advertisements to be placed in conjunction with a user's photos. The lawsuit says that because the new terms of service do not discuss or allow users' photos to remain private, Instagram violated the contract.

The lawsuit also alleges that Instagram allows customers to cancel their subscription but in doing so they are agreeing to no longer have the right to the photos they have already posted online through the Instagram program. They lawsuit says that they allegations are a violation and breach of contract for the terms of service that Instagram users previously agreed to.

Source: Fox Business, "Instagram furor triggers first class action lawsuit," Dan Levine, Dec. 24, 2012