Instagram Seeks To Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit Over Policy Changes

Instagram asked a federal court on Wednesday to throw out a class action lawsuit filed by users upset over the photo-sharing app’s changes to its terms of service. The lawsuit was brought against the service in December by an Instagram user who accused it of breach of contract, among other claims.

As many people will recall (because the controversy dragged on for a while), an update in Instagram’s terms of service and privacy policy, which was introduced so it could better collaborate with Facebook after the social networking service purchased it, upset and confused users who worried that their photos would be sold or used in ads without their permission. Instagram founder Kevin Systrom changed the problematic wording in the policy, but it kept language indicating “that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.” Instagram also kept wording that gives it the ability to place ads related to user content, as well as a new mandatory arbitration clause that means users waive their rights to participate in class action lawsuits under almost all circumstances (the lawsuit came before the new TOS went in effect on January 19).

The lawsuit, filed by San Diego law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk, alleged that even if users delete their Instagram account, they forfeit rights to photos they have already uploaded to the service. In its filing on Wednesday, Instagram argued that plaintiff Lucy Funes has no right to bring her claim because she could have deleted her account before the changes in the terms of service went int effect. The changes were announced on December 17, before Systrom changed them a few days later in response to the controversy. Funes filed her lawsuit on December 21, about a month before new terms of service went into effect on January 19, and continued to use her account after that day, according to Instagram’s filing.

Instagram also disputed Funes’ claims that the policy changes meant she transferred rights to her photos to the company.

Facebook declined to comment. I’ve also reached out to Finkelstein & Krinsk for comment.