Instagram: Getting a Cease and Desist Order
Things that make my list of “unpleasant but necessary things to deal with” include: taxes, insurance of all kinds, making doctor appointments, and anything involving legal action.
Which is why when I got an Instagram message from an account telling they had a cease and desist order against me, my immediate reaction was to have a small panic attack followed by a lot of confusion.
Since this blog is about interactions online – and they’re not all glowing experiences – I try to be objective. Everyone has different standards of interaction on the internet which is both understandable and makes it way more interesting (e.g. some people will swear by Instagram bots, some people think they’re the bane of the earth). That being said, I couldn’t imagine someone finding a legal reason to file a cease and desist order about something I’ve said.
To add to the confusion, I’d never heard of this account or store before. I searched my blog for their account name and got nada. However, when I googled their name and the word “scam” lo and behold my blog showed up on the second page of google because one of my commenter’s had mentioned the brand in a comment.
Things started making a lot more sense
Since I had to go to a search engine just to figure out why they were messaging me, I also incidentally saw a host of other blogs and reviews about their website that showed them in a less than glowing light. This definitely piqued my interest and made me wonder whether they were trying to get rid of any bad press.
I was suspicious that they hadn’t emailed me (my email is pretty much everywhere, including on the social media account they messaged me on) and requested that they send me the actual paperwork.
I then looked at the comment (it was actually three comments) that was on my post to try to gauge if it was actually unfair to them
It looks like [this company] does the same thing. But what makes worse is they are a clothing company, so it makes it look like they are selling the clothes that the “model” is wearing, even though those are just their own clothes.
Well after further looking. They have similar items to what the women are wearing and then not at all listed. But a lot of the modeling poses don’t even make sense.
Also there are lots of generic instagram names but when you click them they tell you to go to [their website]
I looked at another website that lists clothing store that scam and in the comments several women posted that it was a scam.
It just seems kinda sketchy.
Oh also there’s no “shout out” that I can see. So I dunno.
I can definitely see how the company wouldn’t like it, but the commenter clearly goes from “It looks like this company does this too” to “I’m not actually sure, maybe they aren’t”. It’s a stream of consciousness investigation of their social media and internet presence, which honestly sounds like pretty good feedback (especially if people think your website looks like a scam and it isn’t).
While I didn’t think my commenter did anything egregious, I also don’t like being on the wrong side of the law, so I eagerly looked for the document in my inbox (which they said they’d send me within 48 hours).
Long story short: It’s been a month and a half and I haven’t received an email from them
So What Happened?
After doing some research, it looks like this company exists only online and heavily uses Instagram collaborations for publicity (a lot of the FAQs on their website are about collaborating and discount codes, there’s no physical address on the website, etc.).
I suspect that they were (or are) trying to get rid of bad press and wanted to scare me into taking the comments down. They could have filled out one of the handful of contact forms on my blog, left a comment on the blog itself, or emailed me, but instead they chose to first comment publicly on an Instagram post and then privately DM me. Using an Instagram DM meant that it looked reasonable to not send an actual document but say that they had one.
The fact that they never followed up via email reinforces my belief that it was a scare tactic. Maybe they just forgot, but it definitely looks like they were trying to see what they could get away with via DMs.
I had a company DM me on Instagram saying they had a cease and desist order for me regarding a comment on one of my blog posts. I asked them to email it to me and they never did, which makes it look like they might be deserving of the bad rap they’ve gotten online. I didn’t do anything and they haven’t contacted me since.
The moral of the story: Always ask to see the paperwork.