Last month a new desktop client for Instagram hit the Mac App Store which was $5 to download and allowed users to upload photos from their desktop instead of just their smartphone. Unfortunately the app gained so much traction that it caught the attention of Instagram and they were not happy.
The unique selling point of the Instagram app is that you take, edit and share photos directly from your smartphone and as a result, in theory, every photo on the service should be one that is taken from the camera of a smartphone. Now we all know that is not the case, yes I clearly see some of you out there using photos taken on a DSLR and uploading them on Instagram. However, uploading from another device such as a desktop and also creating an app to use on Instagram which you charge people for is apparently a violation of the Instagram ToS.
On March 28th Instagram sent the developer, 17 year old Caleb Benn, a letter saying that his app had violated the sharing service’s terms of service and that he had until 30th March to “fix things,” but even after the deadline passed Instagram did not take further action.
Benn then received another letter prompting the teenager to take the app down for good. Benn told Ars Technica that he pulled the app at midnight and that; “It was a tough thing to do, but I just couldn’t risk being blacklisted from using anything Facebook/Instagram nor a lawsuit for that matter. Especially when I’m so close to enrolling in college.”
However it was not all a lost cause for Benn. He made $6,000 from the app which is going towards his college fund and users who have downloaded the app can still continue to use it themselves on their desktops. It just means that the app is no longer available on the Mac App Store.
It turns out Benn is no stranger to taking down apps, he is the developer behind the once wildly popular game Temple Run which he was forced to shut down.
Electronic Frontier Foundation director Corynne McSherry says that it is all somewhat of a grey area in the ToS and that Benn was more than likely well within his legal right to make and charge people fro the desktop Instagram app.
Not a bad return on an app that only hit the store recently.
About The Author
Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here. Or you can drop Mark an email at, [email protected]