I’m sure you didn’t read the terms of service before browsing this blog, neither did you read that of the apps you install. The terms of service, also abbreviated as TOS, are rules, permissions and guidelines by which one must agree to abide in order to use a service.
Most people don’t really care about it, they just hit the “I Agree” button, then proceed. But surprisingly, there are a few things you’re agreeing to, hidden within the jargon, that might change the way you use the web. There’s a chance you’re even violating a term of service without you realizing it.
According to mashable, here are 10 things you didn’t realize you agreed to in terms of service of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
1. Facebook has permission to use your photos and videos for whatever it wants.
Don’t be surprised if that your lovely summer picture you took, or a funny video of your pet dog in a Facebook ad. Well, because when you sign up for Facebook, you give it an expansive royalty-free license to use anything you post that could be considered intellectual property.
You still own all of your content, but Facebook is allowed to use it and give other people the right to use it, too. The only way to revoke the license is by deleting the content from Facebook. Twitter, Instagram and Google all have similar clauses in their terms.
2. You can’t use Facebook if you’re a convicted sex offender.
If you’ve been convicted of a sex crime, you aren’t allowed to register for Facebook. But a lot of bad guys have violated this term though. They know themselves!
3. You’re required to keep your contact information up to date.
Facebook requires all users to keep their profiles updated with any changes to their contact information so it can make sure your account is kept secure. While it doesn’t specify a timetable for email addresses, the terms say you need to update your cellphone number within 48 hours of making the change.
4. How you explore Twitter, and how you got there
5. You’re not allowed to squat on a username.
Are you planning to set up a Twitter account for your kid to use when he’s old enough? That’s not allowed, according to Twitter’s terms of service. Twitter typically deletes most accounts within six to nine months of inactivity, so it’s unlikely you’d be able to get away with it anyway.
6. You’re not allowed to post sexually suggestive content.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not just nudity that’s banned. The rule itself isn’t very specific, but its sets a presumably lower benchmark than similar rules from Facebook and Twitter limiting offensive content.
7. You’re not supposed to send ideas to Instagram, but if the company actually reads them and likes them, it’ll use them.
Instagram’s terms outline the company’s policy “not to accept or consider content, information, ideas, suggestions or other materials other than those we have specifically requested.” But, there’s a caveat: If, for some reason, your brilliant idea catches the eye of a higher-up, then Instagram can use it and not give you a cent.
8. You can’t add anyone you don’t actually know.
You have to specify how you know someone before you invite him/her to connect on LinkedIn. If you can’t offer a mutual school or workplace, or don’t have an email address linked to his/her account, LinkedIn won’t let you connect.
But proving your acquaintance with a potential connection isn’t just a spam roadblock; it’s written into LinkedIn’s terms, too. That said, plenty of people violate it without caring.
9. Your profile can’t promote escort or prostitution services — even if they’re legal where you live.
Let’s say you’re the proprietor of a lawful business that pairs clients with escorts for, uh, intimate companionship. Don’t bother networking on LinkedIn, because that’s against the rules.
10. You’re not allowed to lie.
It’s said that honesty is the best policy. For LinkedIn, honesty is policy. The network’s user agreement bans users from adding inaccurate information to their profiles. It’s also usually easy for prospective employers to catch, so it’s not worth it in the first place.
Now be the judge! Aren’t you guilty?