Initial concerns over Facebook acquiring the hipster photo sharing service dissipated after nothing seemed to change, so sepia-hued images of celebrities continued to be posted with wild abandon. But now, new terms have scared users away from the popular service and the company is even being slapped with a lawsuit.
On the face of it, it seems that Instagram has allowed itself to make money off the images posted by its users – treating these as it’s personal property. This would allow them to sell the pics as well as use them in ads. The move was met with shock, horror and finally outrage, with users packing their smartphones and threatening to leave. Among the dissenters are celebrities like Kim Kardashian, LeBron James and others. If this doesn’t seem like a big deal – Kim K. accounts for over a million and a half followers on the site and is the second most followed person after Justin Beiber, so it may be worth keeping her happy. Having your personal photos sold and used by third party companies is just too high a price to pay for some and rightly so.
An article on tgdaily.com covered a lawsuit that disgruntled users are slapping on the service, with Lucy Funes of San Diego at the helm of the filings. Funes accused the company of ‘making a “grab for customer property rights.” A fair point considering that Instagram’s new terms shield it from any legal liability from commercially exploiting customer’s property and won’t relinquish their rights over existing images even when customers leave. Basically anything you’ve ever posted will remain the sole property of Instagram to do with it what they want, regardless of the user’s cancelled account.
It sounds more like a forced marriage than a fun application and it will be interesting to see just how much they backtrack ahead of the planned changes next month.