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Competition law and Instagram Stories: A 24-hour window for legal consequences

Introduction: Instagram as a growing commercial platform

In today’s digital era, Instagram is becoming increasingly important as a platform for commercial activities. Companies use it intensively for marketing and advertising to make their products and services accessible to a wider audience. The visual nature of Instagram and the ability to connect directly with consumers make it an attractive channel for brands. But while the platform offers opportunities, it also poses risks, particularly with regard to competition law. It is therefore important that companies using Instagram commercially are aware of the legal framework and ensure that their content complies with it.

Instagram Stories: A 24-hour window for advertising

Instagram Stories, which are only visible for 24 hours, have become a popular tool for distributing promotional content. They offer a unique way to share time-limited content while achieving high visibility. But even if this content appears ephemeral, it is subject to the same competitive conditions as traditional media. This means that even content that is only visible for a short period of time can be subject to a warning in the event of violations of competition law.

Case study: Unfair comparative advertising in an Instagram Story

A recent case before the Düsseldorf Regional Court illustrates the legal risks. A company had called for a product change in an Instagram Story, which was considered unfair comparative advertising. Despite the short visibility of the story, the company was warned off. This case shows that using Instagram Stories for promotional purposes is not without risks and that companies need to ensure that their content complies with legal requirements.

The risk of repetition: a single infringement may be sufficient

What is interesting about this case is that the warned company denied responsibility and argued that the story was no longer visible. But the court saw it differently. A single infringement may indicate a so-called risk of repetition, which justifies a warning. This means that even if an anti-competitive content was only visible for a short time, the company still has to bear legal consequences. It is therefore important that companies fully understand the legal implications of their online activities.

Conclusion: Be careful when using Instagram Stories for advertising purposes

This case shows that companies using Instagram for advertising purposes need to be aware of the legal framework. Even if a story is only visible for 24 hours, it can have legal consequences. It is therefore advisable to be careful when creating content for Instagram Stories and ensure that it complies with competition law requirements. In addition, it is important to remember that preserving evidence of online content is critical. If a legal dispute arises, proving that a particular piece of content was published can be crucial. Finally, this case shows that it can be worthwhile to take action against unfair practices. Companies should therefore not hesitate to take legal action if they believe their rights have been infringed.

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Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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