We have all heard that joke about how every person on the planet has one lie in common, which is ticking the box to confirm we’ve read the terms and conditions. Is it really important to have one on your website, if nobody reads it anyway? The answer is yes
When you review the terms & conditions, or Terms of Service (ToC) for any website, or social media channel, you view a set of rules. It’s a lot like entering into a competition and failing to read the fine print at the bottom which tells you what might disqualify you from it. When you agree to the terms & conditions you are agreeing that you will abide by the rules that a particular website has set out. Forget about your right to free speech, a website is like any other company- they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and breaking the terms & conditions is the quickest way to see that in action. Every company has a set of terms and conditions that is unique to its site. The ToS also generally includes a disclaimer notice, to ensure the visitor understands you are not liable for any misinformation that may be presented on your site.
Very recently a well-known right wing Twitter user was banned from the site, and supporters were up in arms about it, claiming that his right to free speech was being censored. A quick look at the T’s and C’s shows that Twitter was well within their rights to cancel his account and ban him from returning, because he broke the rules that allowed him a platform on Twitter in the first place. Within Twitter’s terms and conditions, the rules he broke are clearly set out- so by breaching those rules repeatedly they simply cut him off from their service. Another good example is one of our local clients, here in Long Island, that has a website in the adult entertainment industry. Imagine the type of private date they have on their visitors, and what they could theoretically do with it!
You will frequently see Instagram and Facebook remove posts, pictures, and videos from the site due to a breach in terms and conditions. This can be triggered if enough people complain about it, otherwise it can be difficult for large social media sites to stay on top of all of the misbehaviour of its users.