Matt says he posted his transformation to inspire others
One personal trainer says the photos he posted on Instagram to mark his fitness transformation were taken and posted again by fake accounts to promote diet pills he had never taken. He told the Victoria Derbyshire program that these companies feel they are untouchable.
"It was very important for me to put this photo online," says Matt Lindsay, a London-based personal trainer. "I put myself in a vulnerable position in good faith to inspire others – with sensible nutrition and nutrition and hard training."
He was contacted by customers who saw before and after photos of his physique on an Instagram account that shares memes and has millions of followers.
The post, which has been enjoyed over 4,300 times, said: "The shocking discovery has helped so many people transform their bodies that for a limited time."
The post also offered free trials for new customers.
Lindsay contacted the Instagram account directly and asked to remove her photo, which happened. But he was unable to report the company associated with the ad as there were no contact details on the site.
He says he is concerned about the impact on his reputation: "I don't like my face being a cover for something dangerous to people," he says. "I didn't post my photo to fix a quick fix.
"They can say anything they want about me and I can't do anything about it – they feel untouchable."
Anything you post on the internet is just a cut and paste not to be copied and posted repeatedly, and it can end up in places you never chose.
You just have to look at the social networking struggle to contain copies of horrible content – like the 1.5 million copies of the New Zealand sniper video that Facebook removed in the first 24 hours after the attack – to understand the scale of the problem. .
Even technology giants, with all the money they have to spend on preventive measures, find it difficult to manage.
Money-saving expert Martin Lewis filed a defamation lawsuit against Facebook in January after thousands of ads used his name and image as fake endorsements on the platform.
Lewis never made ads.
The law states that a photograph you have taken is your intellectual property and is protected by copyright – only you have the exclusive right to reproduce the image.
But digital lawyer Heather Anson says an individual no longer owns an item after it's uploaded to social media. It then belongs to the platform and people can't be prevented from downloading and using it.
But, she adds, other laws may be considered if the images are used for commercial purposes.
"New EU copyright laws around memes and image sharing have forced photos to be taken," she says, "including additional responsibility for social media platforms themselves when it comes to copyright – they're much more proactive." .
People can complain to ASA through an online information form or go to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Finally, if someone uses your photo without permission, you may be able to file a copyright lawsuit – but it depends on whether or not you have the time, effort, money, and willingness to sue.
Several people reported seeing their photos lifted and used for advertising on accounts that use fake identities or stories.
The Duchess of Sussex has been the subject of false claims that she used "Keto Weight Loss" pills. The ads used pictures of her before and after her pregnancy.
CJ Brough, casting director of brand campaigns, says no brand should use an image without permission. But she says there is not much Lindsay can do, as it is unlikely to be worth processing a small campaign for this type of company.
"Your best bet for revenge is to use Instagram's community spirit to support it," she says. "If he said what happened to him, he would probably face a lot of support."
But she said that branding in this way can be useful for people trying to create a social media profile, adding that what happened to Matt was one of the natural pitfalls of social media.
"If you're identifying M&S and wearing an M&S dress, it's not so much a gray area," she explains. "People want this to happen by investing time and effort in creating content and attracting potential brand partners. This is your starting point for how you can get branded contracts."
The companies involved in Matt's case were sought for comment, but none responded.
Instagram recently announced that it is cracking down on publications promoting diet and plastic surgery.