Is someone sharing your picture on Instagram, but you haven’t given them permission to do so?
In most cases, getting these photos taken down is fairly straightforward, although the process isn’t exactly well-known for the average person.
In this article, I’ll be showing you everything you need to do to get the picture taken down once-and-for-all – even going as far as showing you how to file a copyright infringement notice if it becomes necessary.
1. Contact The Poster
The first thing that you should do when you discover that the photo has been posted, is to contact the person that posted it and request that they take it down.
Most people are reasonable and want to avoid direct confrontation. Additionally, they may not realize that they’ve actually done anything wrong.
Even if they don’t end up removing the photo however, it’s still good to be able to prove that you specifically requested that they removed it. Additionally, having a record of their response is good as well – regardless of whether or not they agree to remove it.
So, you should always begin your request here, if possible. Ideally, hold the conversation through Instagram itself, and avoid using voice or video calls for your discussion. In situations like these, having a written record is ideal.
Note that if you currently have the person blocked (and it was someone else that notified you about the picture being posted), you will need to unblock them before you are able to send them a DM on Instagram.
2. Report The Post (The Right Way)
If the poster refuses to take the image down, the next thing to do is to report the post – as long as it violates Instagram’s community guidelines.
However, there is a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’ to report the post.
As you might imagine, Instagram prioritizes certain rules being broken above others. So, depending on the report reason that you give, Instagram may respond to the report faster or slower depending on its severity.
Therefore, you should prioritize reports in this order:
- If the photo contains explicit pictures of you, select this option first.
- If the photo does not contain explicit pictures of you, but is still being used to bully or harass you, select the ‘Bullying or harassment’ option.
- If the account is impersonating you or pretending to be you, visit the account page itself. Then, tap the three dots in the top-right corner and select ‘Report.’ Then, choose ‘Report Account’, ‘It’s pretending to be someone else’, and then finally, ‘Me.’
Note that account-level reports are only for offenses that are account-wide. So, even if someone is posting pictures of you, or your photos, you can’t report their account as a whole unless they are actually pretending to be you.
3. File A Copyright Infringement Notice
This is the big one.
Although filing a copyright infringement notice takes significantly longer than filing a report, it is also one of the most effective options. This is because it goes beyond just Instagram’s own community guidelines – it’s essentially a legal form.
Note that this form is specifically for reporting copyright violations. This means that unless you are the copyright owner for the photo – for example, it was a photo you took yourself, or one that you originally posted on your own account, you may not be able to succeed with using it.
If you are the copyright holder however, it is extremely effective for getting photos taken down.
To start, open up the form. When it asks you to describe your relationship to the rights owner, select ‘I am the rights owner.’
You will then need to provide information related to the report, such as your contact information and a link that proves you are the original owner. This could be a link to the post on your original Instagram account, or a link to the photo hosted elsewhere, such as your own website. The only limitation is you can’t share links to photos within other apps (such as TikTok for example) unless the URL is publicly viewable in a normal internet browser.
You should also keep in mind that the account is likely to receive information about the report that you’ve made, such as your name and email address.
When you get to the section that says ‘Describe why you are reporting this content’, select ‘This content copies my work’ if the photo that they’ve shared is an exact repost. Otherwise, select ‘I appear in this content’.
Once the form has been submitted, Instagram usually handles these reports fairly quickly.
4. Screenshot And Document Any Evidence
Finally, regardless of what method you use to try and get the picture, video, or other content taken down, you should always screenshot and document any evidence that you can.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- The original post that was made, with your content in it.
- Any DMs sent to or received from the other person.
- The date in which the picture was posted.
- Any reports or actions you have taken against the person.
- How the person obtained the photo, if you know it.
This can help you not only when it comes to getting the picture taken down, but also if you take legal action against the person in the future.
What If I Wasn’t The Person That Took The Photo?
We’ve now covered several different ways to get one of your photos removed on Instagram.
Most of the time, simply contacting the person that posted it is enough to get it taken down, as most people are reasonable. If the photo contains something that violates Instagram’s rules, they are usually quick to remove it as well after it’s been reported.
Finally, Instagram will always remove photos that you can prove violate your copyright, as this becomes a legal matter rather than simply being something that violates Instagram’s guidelines.
But what if none of these apply, or you don’t actually own the copyright to the photo? Unfortunately, this complicates things.
There may be situations where you don’t have the legal rights to the photo, even if it’s a photo of you.
For example, it’s legal in the United States to publicly post photographs of other people that were taken in public places, without a reasonable expectation of privacy. This is particularly true if the photos aren’t being used for profit in any shape or form. This is why you need a model release form for all actors in an advertisement, but not of random people in the background of your selfies at a concert.
Generally speaking, copyright applies to the original taker of the photo, unless different arrangements have been held. So, while you can easily report someone who stole and reuploaded a photo off of your Instagram page, it is much harder to prove copyright on an image that was taken of you by someone else.
Of course, if other rules or laws are being broken – such as sharing explicit or intimate photos without your permission, it should still be easy to get these photos taken down following the methods above.
Getting photos taken down on Instagram is fairly straightforward, especially if the photos are your own.
Whether they be photos of you or simply photos that you took first, Instagram has processes in place to handle all situations like these.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that you’ll manage to get the photo taken down. If you have any other questions about getting Instagram photos removed, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister