Remember when Instagram made some changes to its Terms of Service? How can anyone forget the ruckus that followed and the resulting backpedalling of Instagram? What the average consumer may not realise, however, is that entities making changes on their TOS is not a totally rare occurrence. It does happen, if not frequently, regularly.
For example, Skype recently changed its TOS, adding a sweeping class action waiver – something that will make it rather difficult to sue them. For some reason, this change was undone a few weeks after. And we didn’t notice what happened. (Source)
I am pretty sure that many other web sites and services done similar things. Without anyone taking notice.
Considering the number of web sites and services that we visit on a regular basis, how can we be expected to keep track of all the TOS changes? Heck, do you even really read all those documents in full, or is it usually a case of TL;DR and a whole lot of huffing and puffing when the sh#t hits the fan later on? (Now this is not to say that you should not take the time to read the TOS of any service you sign up for. It’s really the smart thing to do, even if it can be a pain at times.)
If you consider yourself a levelheaded, responsible online user, then you would appreciate what Docracy has done. Docracy is a collection of legal documents stored online and made available for us to use. They have gone one step further in terms of providing consumers a service by launching the Docracy Terms of Service Tracker.
The tracker was launched in January of this year, with currently 996 sites tracked, 1,203 stored versions, and 13 recent changes. In essence, they are performing a public service and keeping companies on their toes.
The documents are extensive, highlighting the changes clearly. Here’s a sneak peek at the recent changes made by CareerBuilder.
So if you want to be vigilant and make sure you don’t get caught unawares by a changing TOS, follow the Docracy Terms of Service Tracker.