FPQ105: Read the TOS


This is going to be a super-long post, so it won’t hurt my feelings if you pass it by, though IMNSHO there is a lot of good content here. If you simply drop a like without reading it, your loss.

Fandango provocatively asks…

Do you think [TOS violator] should be allowed back on social media now that he’s no longer in office?

I hope Fandango forgives me for slightly editing his question to remove the specific name. My view is that people should be held to the terms they agreed to when they signed up for a service. This means all people, no exceptions.

Let’s use WordPress for our first example, since most of my readers are using this service. Have you read the TOS? There are a lot of terms there… having to do with signing up, payments, disclaimers of WP liability for anything, using the site for e-commerce, more gobble about money, and some conditions having to do with users’ behavior. Here are some examples:

  • Will comply with all applicable laws and regulations (including, without limitation, all applicable laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content, privacy, data protection, the transmission of technical data exported from the United States or the country in which you reside, the use or provision of financial services, notification and consumer protection, unfair competition, and false advertising);
  • Will not be for any unlawful purposes, to publish illegal content, or in furtherance of illegal activities;
  • Will not disclose the personal information of others;
  • Will not be used to send spam or bulk unsolicited messages; […]

You must obey the laws about online conduct and acceptable conduct. What are those? Here’s a look

Okay, what about, say… Twitter? Anything goes there, right? Um nope. Contrary to what Twitter looks like, they actually have rules. Which they enforce arbitrarily, unfortunately. These sites making gobs of money (FB, Twitter, etc.) should, in my opinion, be forced to hire as many people as necessary to enforce their own TOS. If they can’t/don’t/won’t, they should be taken offline. There is no excuse! If there are too many messages to monitor, fix it so there aren’t. They can and should. No one needs to tweet 500 times per day if the site can’t handle monitoring their content.

Here are some rules from the Twitter TOS:

  • Violence: You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence. Learn more about our violent threat and glorification of violence policies. 
  • Abuse/harassment: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. This includes wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm. Learn more.
  • Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. Learn more
  • Civic Integrity: You may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process. Learn more.
  • Impersonation: You may not impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations in a manner that is intended to or does mislead, confuse, or deceive others. Learn more.

Isn’t that interesting? You wouldn’t think, from visiting Twitter, that they had any rules at all! But apparently there are so many tweets that they can’t handle monitoring them for adherence to their own rules. They rely on other users reporting violations. Regardless, violators should be restricted, even if they can’t all be found (which they could, if these sites put money into enforcing their own rules).

It’s not only the twice-impeached former POTUS who constantly violates the Twitter rules ~ violations are all over the place there, perpetuated by peeps of all political persuasions. They are simply sliding under the radar. Forex, it’s become a sport online to mock officials for having “dementia,” which is a clear violation of the Twitter TOS, whoever is doing it. Dementia is a serious disease, incapacitating millions of people, and it’s heartbreaking besides. It’s not funny to accuse people of having it because they lie, misspeak, stutter, etc. But folks on the right and the left use this form of harassment as mockery of those they dislike.

Many of us are on Facebook, which also has rules, not that they are great at enforcing them. God forbid hiring more monitors would put a dent in the bottom line there. Here are a few FB rules that are routinely ignored:

  • Use the same name that you use in everyday life.
  • Provide accurate information about yourself.
  • Create only one account (your own) and use your timeline for personal purposes.
  • We believe that all people are equal in dignity and rights. We expect that people will respect the dignity of others and not harass or degrade others. [found in Community Standards]

I stand by my unpopular opinion that there needs to be a huge change in the structure of social media ~ and that is to create a new global rule of one account per person signed up with their real, legal name, verified with a credit card. You don’t have to use your real name as your handle, but you get ONE handle, to be used across all social media. There needs to be an end to this detachment of words from consequences when you want to “troll” and harass others. That’s the thing about social media ~ people want to be separated from the consequences of their behavior. Unlike other areas of life, we aren’t required to accept any responsibility for our words, words that are casually tossed out to mock, harass, demean, etc. others online.

Of course, I have strayed from the question. That’s because it’s too simple for me to say, “Ugh, hate him ban him!” The twice-impeached former POTUS has violated the TOS egregiously and repeatedly, so suspending his account was the right thing to do, but more than that… everyone should be required to abide by the TOS they signed up for. Everyone.


©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

32 responses to “FPQ105: Read the TOS

  1. I completely agree with you on people using their own name. I get why people do it because they want to have anonymity from their work or school life. What are you putting on social media that you wouldn’t want them to see?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you on ALL points. Social media wouldn’t be the mindless free-for-all of cyber attacks and bullying if everyone had one unique name across all platforms and adhering to TOS was a must, not a mild suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s interesting how this issue issue has evolved. Because ToS are par for the course with anything online, but social media has gotten so big that denying someone access is far more of a thing than enforcing ToS on some minor dinky little platform. Then there’s the issue that some of these people, including Mark Zuckerberg, are pretty radically pro-free speech. There’s also the financial side, and their review depends on more people on the platform, so they’re not necessarily motivated to mass deactivate a bunch of accounts. And requiring a credit card, or even ID, then adds a layer of privilege into being able to access social media. It really makes for a messy issue all-around.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, these sites should be more vigilante in enforcing their own rules, but then how many people actually read the rules .. probably not many. And by the time they’ve posted something awful, it’s already been read by untold numbers. Well, I don’t do much on other ones, just WP.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes! Absolutely right Paula

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Absolutely! Vigilance and censure is definitely the answer here, for whoever is on whatever platform. It’s the ‘anything goes’ attitude and lack of follow-up that has allowed people like Trump to abuse the medium for so long…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t mind at all, Paula, that you broadened the scope of my provocative question today. I did have to go back and read Fandango’s blog’s unpublished Terms of Service and could find no specific rule that prohibits those who post in response to my prompts from broadly interpreting the prompts or even changing them in their responses. So I’m pleased to inform you that you have not violated my blog’s TOS and my lawyer will not be contacting you.

    And, FWIW, I totally agree with you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. the thing I liked about this was the implication, right from the start, that the rules apply to one and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am going to show my ignorance and ask what does TOS stand for – I think I know who we are talking about.

    I just think that phones/social media is a responsibility. If a teenager misuses their phone – parents confiscate it until they can be trusted. People should prove they can be trusted and they understand the impact their words can have. If they are not able to handle that responsibility it should be removed until they can prove themselves more responsible.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your post wasn’t that long… O_o Heck. Mine is of equal length I bet! Very interesting content you shared too, and some eye-openers about social media sites. Your idea of ‘one universal account’ per human being is a great one, but as hard a time as WordPress (currently my only social media site that I use with any consistency) has getting along with others (like Apple and Google); it’s difficult to image all of the social media sites working out the bugs without driving the users insane first. Great points you make though! Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. BRAVO!! 🙌👏 I absolutely agree with you.

    I am guilty of clicking “I agree” and not thoroughly reading all the terms of service, but I’m not trolling so I figure I’ve just agreed to let them collect and sell my data, which they’re gonna do anyway.

    One can protect their privacy and still be held responsible for the words they put out on the internet. I don’t believe in censorship but I also don’t believe that as members of a society we have the right to violate other people’s rights with our words.

    I don’t think your opinion is unpopular. But maybe I’m an exception like you.🤷🏼‍♀️ TOS! Period!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, people like to be able to quickly sign up for any account without having to verify their info. This was a huge problem on dating sites and it affects all areas of the internet. I don’t have the various TOS memorized, but I’m also not trolling ir impersonating peeps… ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You may find this hard to believe, but idgaf about marketing garbage. I’d be thrilled to see less of it everywhere because people are unable to spend all day hawking their crap under various identities. We already have to deal with enough ads to use these “free” services…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Possibly. Our privacy is already vastly compromised, so I don’t find any argument about it compelling. People could just not be on at all if they need to live in the shadows…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yah okay. No need to go on. I know you don’t want any changes


  15. Wow…so much input my brain doesn’t even know where it want’s to begin. So, I will simply say rules are rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I totally agree with everything except using a credit card to verify identity because I don’t trust sites not to charge me. But that suggestion suggests we need some kind of digital ID or passport that can both verify and protect our identity. Would also cut the number of fake accounts.

    Liked by 1 person

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.