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Terms of Service Lead Me to Practice Self-Censorship

Any privacy complaints leads to one email where a social media provider will state their decision to terminate your account without stating who complained. This is to protect the anonymity of the complainant. If you admit wrongdoing then you get banned. If you apologize and promise not to violate the Terms of Service again then you may not get banned.

I don't think this as unfair since a social media provider could easily charge members for this service, but they do not do so because advertisements covers for the costs of maintaining their social media.

So I don't have a problem with that.

Usually when the email arrives, the member has accumulated more than one complaint. I don't know at what point the people in charge decide to terminate a member's account. Such decisions are unanimous and final.

As an example, here is Google Plus' Suspension and Termination in their Terms of Service:

Google reserves the right to block or remove Google+ Pages that violate law, third party rights, the Google+ Pages Terms or if you are using Google+ Pages to violate or circumvent terms or policies for other Google products or services. Repeated violations of Google+ Pages Terms, may cause your Google+ account to be suspended or your entire Google account to be terminated, depending on the seriousness of the violation. Google may, without notice, remove your Google+ Pages if they are dormant for more than nine months.

Nowhere does GooglePlus have to notify any member who violates this policy. While it is arbitrary, it is a binding contract, and not reading it does not excuse violation of law and rights of others.

Having read their terms of service, I tend to engage in self-censorship when I know something I've posted violates the rights of other people. Certainly, this has also helped me to ensure any picture I take with the intent to post here will not violate the privacy rights of others.

After all, GooglePlus has the Creative Toolkit (the photo editor tool which can blur blur faces, though you would have to be experienced using it.

So it's time to review all my photos and pixelate faces and license plates. As well, I've been framing photos I currently take so that license plates do not show up and have been taking pictures in which people are more than 50 feet away.


Google Terms of Service:

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