Does anyone read the Terms of Service when installing software or creating an internet account? Few read the legalese they’re required to agree to before they can use the software, service, or even the hardware they’ve purchased. That gives the companies that create these terms a tremendous advantage when creating them. And if the companies are monopolies, or near-monopolies with which the tech landscape has become populated, they have even more power since there’s often no or few competitors for consumers to turn to.
A user agreement is not a mere formality. It’s a binding legal contract, of the type lawyers call a “contract of adhesion.” Contracts of adhesion offer no room for negotiation — the user’s only options are to take it or leave it.
The following examination of Instagram’s ToS provides a glimpse at what’s going on under the hood of these agreements. Even so, I don’t expect to take off time from life to begin reading future ToS statements any time soon.
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