“We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes says in an e-mail, according to Reuters.
Instagram was acquired by Facebook earlier this year for $715 million. And in its revised terms of service announced in mid-December, the company made it sound as though it might sell user photos. While Instagram responded to outrage over the changes, assuring users that it didn’t intend to sell images like stock photography and altering the policy language to clarify, one thing was made clear: The company will be using user data to turn a profit.
“From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says in a blog post on the company’s website.
Instagram also announced a mandatory arbitration clause, meaning users waive their rights to participate in most class action lawsuits.
The proposed changes are due to go into effect on Jan. 16, but that doesn’t necessarily mean images taken with Instagram before that date will be safe. The lawsuit, filed by San Diego-based law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk, says customers can cancel their profile but then forfeit rights to any photos they already shared on Instagram.
“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.
Additionally, the new service terms no longer contain language explicitly promising that private photos will remain private.