On the evening of Friday, January 8, 2021, Twitter took the unprecedented move of permanently suspending the account of the sitting President of the United States of America. Unless you've been living a quaint life devoid of the internet for the past four years, any reader should recognize that Twitter was the President's preferred communication tool. Around that same time, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, Reddit, Snapchat, YouTube, Discord, Shopify, Stripe and even Pinterest also shut down the President's various accounts. The impact was swift and pervasive and most notably will make it very challenging to purchase a particular branded red hat.
So Much Winning: Platforms have largely unlimited power
- Clickwrap (i.e. clicking to confirm consent) and browse/scroll wrap (i.e. browsing or scrolling an app or website to confirm consent) agreements are legally enforceable
- The interaction of business owners and customers through a Platform is no different than a bricks and mortar shop of yesteryear; the shopkeeper is still permitted to control access to his or her shop as they see fit
Make Terms Great (Again?): Best Practices for Businesses
- Keep it Broad - In order to ensure near-complete control over the Platform (or website or app), the Terms should provide near-absolute purview to the owner to remove users as the owner sees fit. This should critically include being very clear that: (i) the owner owns everything (i.e. all intellectual property) on the Platform, (ii) the user has an extremely limited, personal license to use the Platform, (iii) the owner is not responsible for, nor warranties, any content on the Platform, (iv) the owner's liability to users, if any, is limited to the amounts paid by the user to the owner to access the Platform, (v) disputes, if any, are to be interpreted in accordance with, and litigated in, the preferred jurisdiction of the owner, and (vi) the owner can change the Terms at any time, for any reason, and will do its' best to bring those changes to the attention of users.
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