New Zealand Law Society

Navigation menu

Social media terms heavily one-sided, says ISMA

06 July 2016

The International Social Media Association (ISMA) says analysis of the enforceability of the Terms of Service of ten of the most prominent social media platforms under Australian law has revealed "significant shortcomings."

The close relationship between New Zealand and Australian consumer protection laws means the ISMA findings are likely to be very relevant here.

ISMA says its 2016 Social Media Terms of Service White Paper (available to members) finds that the Terms of Service are heavily one-sided, in favour of foreign corporations and unfair to Australian users who are being short-changed by the platforms.

"As a result of the power held by these platforms, they are burdened with a far greater level of corporate responsibility. Perhaps this is the reason for their overly complicated Terms of Service which they know hardly anyone reads, but which everyone accepts anyway," it says.

"However, most Australians do not realise that some terms are completely unenforceable. In short, accepting the platforms' terms does not mean throwing your rights away."

ISMA says the most concerning terms relate to disclaimers of liability, IP enforcement, privacy and data, consumer laws and minors.

A diagramatic summary of the analysis - which covers Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, iTunes, Snapchat, Google +, and Snapchat - shows the disclaimers for eight of the platforms are deemed unenforceable under Australian law, with the other two "potentially unenforceable".

Last updated on the 16th September 2019