• http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

    I’m speechless. Brands want consumer trust and engagement across social platforms – yet violate that trust on every level with this kind of language being sneaked in? It’s absolutely horrible. And what if a consumer likes a Facebook page yet never went on the company website where the “contract” is? It seems one small step above fraudulent. I’m all for protecting yourself, but this is unconscionable.

  • gregsterling

    Yep. Totally agree.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    The case law is not totally in agreement on these issues. There have been situations where courts have ruled against enforcement of TOS (Cf. https://web.archive.org/web/20070621115507/http://www.insidecounsel.com/section/technology/1409 ). It may come down to how good the consumer lawyer is when going up against a company that tries to hide behind obscure TOS privileges.

  • sleepd

    Playing devil’s advocate to a small degree, there is a point to the pronouncement that consumers can always choose not to use a service. In the example of MySpace, that can be disastrous for a company.

    There is also such a thing as hacking TOS. Increasingly, Facebook users do not use real names and do not use their own images when posting pictures. Thus, their accounts can not be matched to credit card buying habits that FB purchases, and their images cannot be exploited without compensation, since the images are not their own. Violation of TOS? Maybe. The only recourse FB has is to delete an account. So a new one gets created and the cycle continues. The same sword that makes it too complicated to solicit and obtain actual consent also makes it too difficult to follow up on each and every infraction down to an IP level. Boo hoo.
    And let’s not even start talking about deactivators and how they weaken the brand offering for advertisers.

    End of day, there is a line that gets crossed for consumers that makes a service unpalatable. It isn’t there yet for FB. And class actions won’t stave it off either.

  • Jeff Ferguson

    One thing I want to make sure is really, really clear here is how poorly the New York Times article is reporting this issue. What is actually happening in the T&Cs, etc. for General Mills, Facebook, etc. and some other sites IS NOT language that says, “you can’t sue us,” but instead what is called “forced arbitration.”

    Forced arbitration, which is something most business people should be used to dealing with in contracts with media publishers, etc. means that you waive your right to jumping directly to suing a person or company when an issue arises and instead use arbitration first in an attempt to settle the issue out of court. If this fails, you still retain the right to take a company to court, however, it just can’t be your first reaction.

    If you think about this, in this sue happy world we live in, this actually much more civil than the alternative.