How Instagram’s Terms and Conditions violates French law



By Guillaume Belisle Fabre

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



Terms and Condition are the only formal contract that links all user of a social network such as Instagram. This contract – which is based on the company headquarter’s state law – is the same for every user no matter the laws of the user’s country and dictates how a dispute can be resolved. As a French citizen, it looks really hard to solve a dispute with Instagram regarding its Terms and Conditions. The dispute resolution process described offers solutions that would force a French citizen to come to California in order to have a dispute resolved. As it is opposed to the 6Th article of the European Convention of Human Right, the binding dispute solution of Instagram can be recognized as “unfair” and the case can be judged in France. This solution can take years as some Facebook users experienced and this way Instagram is reducing the number of claims coming from outside the USA.

Key words: Conflict, Dispute, Social Network, Claim, Resolution, International Dispute Resolution, Terms and conditions, French law


Driven by globalization, social networks are changing how society behaves at an outstanding pace around the world. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram represent several billion users around the world allowing them to interact easily and instantly. The only formal link between these billions of users is the Terms and Conditions of use they all agreed to access their functionalities. This contract – which is based on company’s headquarters state law – is the same for every user no matter the laws of its country and dictate how a dispute can be solve. While Terms and Conditions (T&C’s) rule the usage of all of our social network, only 9,6% of people read the T&C’s when the opening is optional according to a recent survey (2016) conducted by European Commission.

Therefore, with its 800 million users (75% are non-American) and the optional opening of its T&C’s, Instagram easily imposes rules to its users. As of January 2013, the last version of Instagram’s T&C’s was updated: one of the most significant provision added was an arbitration clause in bolded and capitalized text saying that every dispute between the company and a user has to be resolved with a binding arbitration.

As these T&C’s are based under American rule, it makes really hard for a non-American to solve a dispute. Therefore, more than 600 million Instagram users are concerned with binding dispute resolution but only a few of them actually read this (9,6%).

Problem statement: For the purpose of this research we will answer to these questions on the basis of French users:

  1. To which jurisdiction a French user is subjected when using Instagram which is based in California?
  2. Can a French user solve a dispute against Instagram?
  3. What are its options?


In order to answers these questions, we will first analyse the T&C’s of Instagram and describe their dispute resolution process. We will also take a look at how French law rules the use of such a service by taking the example of a trial between a French user and Facebook which had to change its T&C’s recently.


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper:
Belisle-Fabre, G. (2018). How Instagram’s Terms and Conditions violates French law, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 5, May 2018. https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/pmwj70-May2018-Belisle-Fabre-instragrams-terms-conditions-violate-french-law-student-paper.pdf

About the Author

Guillaume Belisle Fabre

Paris, France


Guillaume Belisle Fabre
is an MSc student in SKEMA Business School, Paris, France, majoring in Project and Programme Management & Business Development (PPMBD). He graduated from the Bayonne University in France and holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business. In 2015, he worked for KPMG as a Junior auditor in Paris. In the same year he helps foodora, a German start-up to develop in Bordeaux, France. He has both project management and business development background. He lives in Paris, and can be contacted at [email protected].