How to Enforce Terms of Service for Online Social Media Promotions and Contests


General Mills incurred blowback on social media earlier this year when it was suggested the company sought releases for all claims whatsoever from anyone who visited the company Facebook page. The truth, as always, was not as drastic or draconian as initially reported, but it did raise some concerns about how to enforce terms of service through social media.

According to the New York Times, General Mills notified customers that if they downloaded a coupon, joined a forum or entered a sweepstakes, the customer would waive his or her right to sue in court and would have to go through an online ‘‘informal negotiation’’ or arbitration. The article reported that General Mills provided an update to its Facebook page that included: ‘‘Please note we also have new legal terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration.’’

Originally Published in BNA Bloomberg Social Media Law & Policy Report, 03 SMLR 31 - August 5, 2014.

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