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[liberationtech] Fw: [progressiveexchange] Facebook interfering with activism Pages

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at
Mon Sep 20 10:44:15 PDT 2010

On Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 11:28 AM, Katrin Verclas
<katrinverclas at> wrote:
>Colin Delany wrote:
>> Activists upset with Facebook
>> Claims they've violated terms of service.  Discuss.
> Thoughts, colleagues!

It has become the norm for commercial service providers[1], whether
they're regular ISPs or 'free' web services like Facebook, to offer
terms of service which practically every user will violate—allowing
them to unilaterally terminate any activity or account they want,
whenever they want, claiming that it falls under a terms of service
violation. These contracts of adhesion usually include arbitration
clauses, which effectively remove any remaining leverage these sites'
users might be able to use to get justice.

My favorite example comes from my Verizon Residential FiOS service,
which lists as an example of an AUP violation any use of the service
"in a manner that is […] sexually explicit". Perhaps someone in their
legal department is completely unaware that pornography is one of the
largest traffic generators on the Internet…

The long and short of this is that absent a shift in the direction of
forcing virtual public accommodations like Facebook to do business
with others against their will and commercial interests—something I
can't see happening—people will need to adopt
distributed/decentralized systems for distributing information,
especially controversial or unpopular information, if they want to
keep effective freedom of speech instead of theoretical freedom of

[1] This is my own anecdotal experience, I'm not aware of any surveys
of service provider terms of service from a user freedom perspective.
I'd find such a study very interesting.

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