I Read a Couple of Terms of Services and Here’s What I Found.
Terms of Service (ToS)
The two service terms I will be discussing today belong to Medium and Snapchat. Upon reading them both, here is what I discovered. Both did a good job in defining “Terms” and “Services”. From what I gathered, terms is defined as the contract being made between the user and the company or corporation regarding the use of their service(s) being offered. As suggested, the user should read the Terms of Service carefully and then either agree or disagree with the contract. If you select “I disagree”, the contract is terminated and the user does not have permission to use the service being offered. If you select “I agree”, the contract commences and you are prompted to set up your account in order to use the services.
The first thing I did was scroll through the entire length of the Terms of Service (ToS) and decided on whether I wanted to read it or not. Now for the purpose of this blog post I already decided I would read the entire thing to educate myself. To my surprise I had found the length of Medium’s ToS considerably short compared to many other Terms of Services. Snapchat was quite lengthy but again I have seen far more lengthier service terms. I may add that the reason for being lengthy was because there were actually two Terms of Services for Snapchat, which leads me to my next point.
Depending on where you live, your ToS can be different due to different reasons such as governmental laws. One Snapchat ToS was for users living in the United States and the other was for all other users living outside the United States.
I had learned that by agreeing to the ToS of Snap Group Limited, that all claims and disputes that arise or relate to the Terms or the use of Services are to be exclusively litigated in the Courts of England in the United Kingdom. However, if the country you live in does not apply the laws of England then the laws of your home country apply. Also, under the privacy section (section 5 of the contract) I had found that the information collected and processed from users can and may be shared with other affiliates and be transferred outside the country in which you reside.
The second thing I noticed is the effective date. I’m assuming this is required to be stated in the beginning of the agreement but it is also helpful to know. Both ToS were currently up to date and in effect. The corporation can change the ToS at any point but they have to let the users know. The users will typically be notified about the new terms of agreement and then have the opportunity to again agree or disagree. In the event that they disagree, the account may be deleted.
In Medium’s ToS, everything was explained well and it was easy to understand the literature and terms. Sometimes things would be a little more vague than usual since great detail was not expressed. Although Snapchat’s ToS was longer, they made good use of bullet points so that the information could be read more easily. Sometimes paragraph form is difficult to read especially when the text is lengthier.
To my surprise I had understood majority of the text in both Terms of Services. There were some legal terms used but it is a contract after all and the law it important when describing the parameters of the ToS. To improve the user’s comprehension of legal terms it would be helpful if the contract briefly defined these terms. Perhaps a summary of the ToS or what user’s want to typically know can be presented before delving into all the detailed sections.
I was surprised to find some netiquette rules within Medium’s ToS under the rules section. Additionally, I learned that your Medium account can be removed after 6 months of inactivity according to the Username Policy. Sections 6,7, and 8 from the Snapchat ToS also described some netiquette regarding safety and respect.
That concludes what I have found. Now I challenge you to read an entire Terms of Service the next time you are presented with one!