UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: It seems those numbers from AppData indicating that Instagram is leaking users aren’t quite all they’re cracked up to be. To that end, a spokeswoman for Instagram denies the app is losing users, saying in a statement: “We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram.” [More]
You don’t always read the Terms of Service before accepting them. Not for hardware, not for software, not for websites. We’re fairly certain that no one ever does. (Someone out there, please prove us wrong.) What we really needed all along is a service that reads over all of that legal language and gives you the highlights of the ToS, then explains which features are good or are bad for you as a consumer. Now that service exists. It even has little pictures that tell you which parts of the ToS are good or bad. Meet ToS;DR.
Groupon is a daily deal sort of website, but the reason it’s on Consumerist today is because of how well it communicated some recent changes to its Terms of Service agreement. Consumerist reader Pureboy sent in a copy of the email he recently received where the website explained the changes in plain English, with examples.
Senator Charles Schumer is upset on your behalf over Facebook’s latest loosening of its privacy policies, and yesterday he called for the FTC to step in and provide some guidance, offering to introduce legislation if the agency feels it needs that extra authority. Specifically, Schumer wants three things: opt-out defaults should be switched to opt-in, sites should always disclose where the information is going, and there should be some general “guidelines for user privacy” that sites follow.
The next time you don’t get that job because someone in HR saw your Facebook pics of you at the weekend cosplay orgy, you’ll have only yourself to blame. (But not for the orgy, which sounded like a really good idea at the time.) Starting soonish–it’s being rolled out now–you’ll have the ability to set privacy levels for each status update. That sound you hear is the collective wail of moms everywhere who are about to be shut out of the more salacious aspects of their kids’ lives.
Twitter has just posted new terms of service clarifying a few points that have come up now that the service is popular and stuff. They’ve changed the terms to clarify a few points, such as advertising (they retain the right to advertise) ownership (you own your tweets) and rebroadcast (they can retweet you far and wide.) [Twitter Blog]
Thanks to an update to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, there will be one less place for advertisers to encroach onto your private life: your friends’ news feeds.
It’s difficult enough to parse a lengthy TOS for one web-based service, let alone for dozens, or to keep track of when and how they update them. It would be nice if some public-service website out there would keep track of this stuff for all of us, wouldn’t it? Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) did just that with the launch of TOSBAck.org, “the terms-of-service tracker.” It tracks TOS agreements for 44 different services, including Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, and eBay.
When voting ended yesterday on the Facebook terms of service, around 600,000 people had voted, and about 70% of those votes were cast for the new documents drafted over the past couple of months. Although the voting total was nowhere near the 30% of active Facebook users that Facebook said would be required, the site is still considering validating the vote and implementing the new terms after the audit is complete.
You’ve got about a day and a half left to cast your vote for which Terms of Service you’d prefer Facebook go with—the one written in September 2008 without user input, or the new one they’ve drafted over the last month based on suggestions from the Facebook community.
We are open to putting the documents up to a vote. The rules people must do when on the site and what we must do, a two way thing. There will be Comment periods, a council that will help on future revisions.
Now that Facebook has said they’re drafting a new Terms of Service based on community input, that community has eagerly put forth their proposals in the Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities Facebook group. Forum admin Julius Harper went through the 27 pages of feedback and pulled out the three major areas the community seemed most concerned about. Here’s what the people are demanding:
It appears in the wake of global attention and outcry, Facebook has, as of at least 12:27 am, reverted back to the previous Terms of Service. Phew, now we can all go back to sending each other digital cupcakes without Big Brother watching us. This is a temporary move until Facebook can draft a new Terms of Service that addresses the users’ concerns. CEO Zuckerberg wrote a new blog post, and Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt released this statement:
Online, in print and on TV, Consumerist’s Facebook terms of service change story, and the ensuing global uproar, has spread like Ebola in a monkey house…
If you’ve been following the Facebook story over the past couple of days, you know by now that Facebook has said that they are not claiming ownership of uploaded user content: “We certainly did not—and did not intend—to create any new right or interest for Facebook in users’ data by issuing the new Terms.” But blogger Amanda French decided to actually compare the fine print for several social networking sites—MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Picasa—and she concludes that “Facebook’s claims to your content are extraordinarily grabby and arrogant.” Read her side-by-side comparison here.