When you download or sign up for any sort of program or service, you have to agree to their terms of service: The wall of text that describes everything you can and cannot do on or with that software.
While there are some obvious caveats like “You will not upload viruses” or “You may not copy, modify, distribute, sell or lease any part of our services,” there are also a host of not-so-obvious conditions you agree to.
We took the “dr” out of tl;dr to show you some of the more interesting things you didn’t know existed in terms of service for popular internet haunts.
1. Facebook owns everything you post
“You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”
This roughly translates to: If you post something on Facebook, Facebook has the right to do whatever they want with it. That means they can use your posts in promotional content, give your information to advertisers and more.
Nothing is safe.
You also agree that anyone can access and use your information if you publish it under the Public setting.
“When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you.”
2. Snapchat doesn’t want you risking your life for the perfect Snap
“Do not use our Services in a way that would distract you from obeying traffic or safety laws. And never put yourself or others in harm’s way just to capture a Snap.”
“Never put yourself or others in harm’s way just to capture a Snap”
If you’re driving and want to get a Snap with the speed filter reading over 100 mph, you could end up in a bad car wreck like one user did recently. To discourage this and other irresponsible phone use, Snapchat included a much-needed plea to not break the law or put people in danger.
Not only does this relieve Snapchat of responsibility if you do something stupid while using it, it means it can ban you if you violate this rule. So think twice before asking your friend to grab your ankles while you dangle over a cliff to get the perfect Snap.
3. You can’t stalk people on Instagram
“You must not defame, stalk, bully, abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate people or entities.”
While defaming, bullying, abusing, harassing, threatening, impersonating and intimidating people is definitely a bad thing that people should not do, isn’t stalking an inherent quality of social media?
Not exactly. While people use the word “stalking” pretty lightly when it comes to social media, like “I was stalking this guy I met at a party on Facebook,” part of stalking’s actual definition is that it’s done with some sort of sinister intent and it’s unwanted.
This would likely manifest in repeatedly sending unwanted direct messages to someone and commenting or messaging in a way that’s threatening. So don’t be creepy on Instagram, or anywhere while you’re at it.
4. LinkedIn does not allow lying
“You also agree that your profile information will be truthful.”
“Your profile information will be truthful”
Lying is generally bad, especially when it concerns yourrsum.
To make sure LinkedIn remains a reputable place to host your rsum and find candidates for hire, it wants everyone to stay truthful when it comes to their previous experiences and accomplishments.
If you are caught lying, you can say good bye to your LinkedIn profile and all your connections.
5. Instagram can make you change your username whenever it wants
“We reserve the right to force forfeiture of any username for any reason.”
Nobody’s username is safe from the wrath of Instagram.
While this is likely a condition to make users change their usernames if they are using someone else’s real name or a profanity, the implication is that Instagram can just boot you from your username for any reason.
Instagram doesn’t seem to be abusing this power right now, but who knows what could happen if some power-hungry username hater takes the reins at the picture-sharing app.
6. Twitter isn’t responsible if you get hacked
“You are responsible for safeguarding the password that you use to access the Services and for any activities or actions under your password. We encourage you to use strong passwords (passwords that use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols) with your account. Twitter cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from your failure to comply with the above.”
Having a strong password is always important. But even if you have a great password full of letters, numbers and symbols, your account can still get hacked.
If Twitter’s database of passwords gets hacked, which has already happened, and it doesn’t use proper methods to hide passwords from hackers, it’s still your problem if your password gets taken. Twitter accepts no responsibility.
7. Twitter can boot you for tweeting a link to copyrighted material
“Twitter will respond to reports of alleged copyright infringement, such as allegations concerning the unauthorized use of a copyrighted image as a profile or header photo, allegations concerning the unauthorized use of a copyrighted video or image uploaded through our media hosting services, or Tweets containing links to allegedly infringing materials.”
You can’t just violate other people’s copyright
Using or posting copyrighted material on Twitter is not allowed, and if you violate that, that content can be removed and you could be banned from Twitter.
That condition doesn’t raise any eyebrows, because you can’t just violate other people’s copyright. But at the end of it, Twitter states it will respond to reports of people tweeting links to infringing material. So if you aren’t too careful about the stuff you’re linking out to and someone tips off Twitter, you could be out a Twitter account.
While terms of service are easy to skip, sometimes there is some unexpected information in there. Even knowing this though, will you really start reading these things?