Corporate social media rules

An item for discussion:

I’ve see this stuff in some recent reports of lawsuits.  First people started using social media, for social things.  Then corps decided that socmed was a great way to spam people without being accused of spamming.  Then corps suddenly realized, to their horror, that, on socmed, people can talk back.  And maybe alert other people to the fact that you a) don’t fulfill on your promises, b) make lousy products, c) provide lousy service, and d) so on.

Gloria ran into this today and asked me about the legalities of it.  I imagine that it has all the legality of any waiver: you can’t sign away your rights, and a waiver has slightly less value than the paper it’s printed on (or, slightly more, if a fraudster can copy your signature off it  [Sorry, I'm a professional paranoid.  My brain just works that way.]).

Anyway, what she ran into today (a Facebook page that was offering to let you in on a draw if you “liked” them) (don’t worry, we’ve already discussed the security problems of “likes”):

“We’re honoured that you’re a fan of [us], and we look forward to hearing what you have to say. To ensure a positive online experience for the entire community, we may monitor and remove certain postings. “Be kind and have fun” is the short version of our rules. What follows is the longer version of rules for posts, communications and general behaviour on [our] Facebook page:”

[fairly standard "we're nice people" marketing type bumpf - rms]

“The following should not be posted on [our] Facebook pages:”

Now, some of this is good:
“Unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam)
“Content meant to bully, intimidate or harass any user
“Content that is hateful, threatening, discriminatory, pornographic, or that
contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence
“Content that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law
“Personal, sensitive or financial information on this page (this includes but is not limited to email addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
“Unlawful or misleading posts”

Some of it is protecting their “brand”:
“Competitor material such as pictures, videos, or site links”

Some has to do with the fact that they are a franchise operation:
“Links to personal [agent] websites, or invitations from [agents] to connect with them privately”

But some it is limits freedom of expression:
“Unconstructive, negative or derogatory comments
“Repeat postings of unconstructive comments/statements”

And, of course, the kicker:
“[We] reserves the right to remove any postings deemed to be inappropriate or in violation of these rules.”

Now, it’s probably the case that they do have the right to manipulate the content on their site/page any way they want to.  But, how far can these “rules” go?

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