LitterGram app ordered to change name
Founded by Danny Lucas of Wrotham in Kent, LitterGram is a not-for-profit app through which people can take pictures of litter and report it to their local council. Lucas, who claims that Britain is the third most littered nation in the world, says he had the idea for LitterGram after sending ‘telegram postcards’ of litter to councils in 2014.
The free app has officially partnered with Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and can link directly to the council, allowing officers to locate and remove the litter. It foresees partnerships ‘spreading to other councils around the UK’ which may reduce the £1 billion a year the UK spends on litter.
The aim of LitterGram is to make littering ‘as antisocial as drink driving’ but also to educate children. To encourage school children to use the app, LitterGram has created an animated film, which has been sent to every school in the country. Lucas believes that the app has the potential to improve lives, save money and create a brand new way of dealing with an epidemic that is ‘destroying society’ both in the UK and globally.
After trying to register his company under the brand LitterGram in December last year, Lucas met opposition from the app, which has over 400 million registered users, saying that he received a ‘heavy handed’ letter from its lawyers.
In the letter representatives of Instagram, which was bought for $1 billion (£629 million) by Facebook in 2012, said they 'appreciated the social objective' and motivation behind LitterGram but requested that they rebranded the app due to similarities with Instagram.
According to the letter, LitterGram ‘utilises and relies on social media usage’ and Instagram could not allow its use ‘in relation to services which are core to its world renowned activities in this area’.
Lucas says that he has been in contact with lawyers for Instagram to ‘explain his campaign’, but that the Facebook-owned company has now given Lucas three to six months to change its name.
In an attempt to change the minds of the company, Lucas has this week posted a video plea to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg asking him not to ‘kill’ LitterGram, and stating that rebranding will ‘kill [its] momentum and destroy all [its] ingenuity and hard work’. The name, Lucas says, is vital to the app’s success, making the issue ‘a bit cooler’ and getting young people involved.
In the video Lucas urges Zuckerberg to cease legal action against his company for the 'sake of every person in the UK' and hopes he will 'join forces' to help Littergram progress further.
LitterGram has now started a #savelittergram hashtag to raise awareness and gain support from the public but if the video pleas receives no response they will have to rebrand or face a legal challenge.
More information about LitterGram can be found on the app's website.