On Monday we reported that California Instagram user Lucy Funes filed a class action lawsuit over the social networks recently announced terms of service changes. Instagram hadn’t planned on making those changed until mid-January 2013 but has since reversed its decision. Now experts are weighing in on Funes’ lawsuit and they mostly agree that her case is flimsy.
Filed in San Francisco by New York class action attorneys Finkelstein and Krinsk, the lawsuit claims that the TOS changed amounted to breach of contract and unfair competition. The lawsuit also claims that the change in TOS terms violated California’s privacy laws.
Speaking to SocialTimes Seattle technology lawyer Venkat Balasubramani called the suit “borderline frivolous.”
According to Balasubramani the case falls short because as we stated last week, the terms of service were only announced and never changed, and because revised TOS terms are not in themselves grounds for a trial.
Facebook is no stranger to TOS change lawsuits, the company faced Fraley v. Facebook in which the company was found to have changed its TOS without user permission regarding its Facebook Sponsored Stories advertisements. Facebook likely realized its mistake and therefore announced Instagram changed before they were actually made.
Interesting side note, the changed made to Instagram’s terms of service, which has since been retracted, appear to have used the same clarifying words that followed Facebook’s $20 million settlement in the Fraley case.
In the end it will be hard to prove that any punitive or actual damages occurred for users since Instagram never actually instituted anything that harms its users.