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February 14, 2013

Instagram Asks Federal Court to Throw Out Possible Class Action Lawsuit Following Change to Terms of Service

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Instagram, owned by Facebook (News - Alert), wants a lawsuit against the company tossed out of federal court.

The plaintiff, Lucy Funes, is reportedly trying to turn the San Francisco case into a class action lawsuit, which could yield a costly total for the photo sharing service.

It alleges the company violated its contract and is guilty of other charges related to changes in the users’ terms of service, according to Reuters News Service.

At the end of last year, many users were anxious the service would use pictures in third-party ads without compensation to the owners, under the new terms of service. The terms were then altered.

Instagram defends it actions and says the plaintiff could have deleted her Instagram account before the changes in the terms of service went into effect. Instagram said Funes continued posting photos on the photo-sharing site after she filed the lawsuit, Red Orbit reported.

There’s a disagreement over whether or not Instagram can use users’ photos after they leave the service.

The terms of service in force now are apparently the same used when the service was launched in 2010, CNET said.

In December, Instagram also announced a mandatory arbitration clause, which limits the chances for a class action lawsuit in court. That is believed to be still in force. Many companies have instituted such an arbitration clause to minimize legal costs.

In addition, users of Instagram recently received a statement saying they were locked out of their accounts, with the users ending up in “panic.”

Many saw a message which read: “Your account has been secured and requires account validation. Please login to from your desktop computer to validate your identify.” 

Some wondered if the site had been hacked.

Instagram was purchased by Facebook last year for $715 million.

Edited by Braden Becker
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