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By Reading This Title, You Have Agreed To Our Terms of Service
7th Annual Symposium on Communicating Complex Information (2018)
  • Brian Larson, Texas A&M University School of Law
By June of 2017, Facebook had two billion (that’s billion, with a ‘b’) users accessing it per month (Balakrishnan 2017). Facebook believes that each of those consumer end-users is bound by its end-user license agreement (EULA), which Facebook calls a “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” available to end-users from a small link in light gray text called “Terms” on every Facebook page. EULAs like this, associated with websites, mobile apps, and consumer goods with embedded software, and styled “terms of service,” “terms of use,” etc., may purport to impose a wide variety of contractual obligations on consumers, for example depriving them of intellectual property and free-speech rights and subjecting them to arbitration or court jurisdiction in other states or nations. They are often concealed or designed in such a way as to deny their nature as contracts. Sometimes, they even claim to bind the consumer before she has had a chance to read them. The little empirical evidence available suggests that many of those two billion consumers do not understand Facebook’s EULA as a contract, and many more do not know what terms it contains. Scholars have emphasized the complexity of the information and the amount of time it would take to read all the EULAs in the average social-media consumer’s life (Obar & Oeldorf-Hirsch 2016; McDonald & Cranor 2008).
This panel explores the positions of three scholars studying this problem: The first, a scholar of the law and ethics, the second a scholar of usability and user-centered design, and the third a scholar of digital humanities.
  • EULA,
  • terms and conditions,
  • terms of use,
  • terms of service
Publication Date
February 26, 2018
East Carolina University, Greenville NC
Citation Information
Brian Larson. "By Reading This Title, You Have Agreed To Our Terms of Service" 7th Annual Symposium on Communicating Complex Information (2018)
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