Terms and conditions are continually changing. Companies are obliged to inform us if they implement any changes to their fine print. Do you read them when you get an alert in your inbox? Chances are that you do not. More often than not, people sign up for something and agree with the conditions of use without even reading them. Sometimes, people do read them (or more likely – skim through them), but it rarely makes or breaks their decision to use the services offered. Once you agree to the terms, you might not be motivated to read them when they get updated. If you like the services, chances are that again – these will not make or break your decision to accept the conditions of use.
Just the other day, Britchy wrote a post about boycotting Twitter. Their new terms and conditions say that: “Discussions related to child sexual exploitation as a phenomenon or attraction towards minors are permitted.” Yes, I went straight to the source (Twitter) and confirmed that those are the exact words they used. Yes, they do add that no such discussions should promote or glorify child exploitation. However, I still find it revolting. This seems to have been implemented earlier this year, so I am not sure why this is blowing up now. Maybe someone finally read the new terms and conditions? Starting January 1st, 2020, Twitter “may stop (permanently or temporarily) providing the Services or any features within the Services to you or to users generally. We also retain the right to create limits on use and storage at our sole discretion at any time. We may also remove or refuse to distribute any Content on the Services, limit distribution or visibility of any Content on the service, suspend or terminate users, and reclaim usernames without liability to you.” What does that mean? They can basically shadow-ban anyone or anything without a reason.
This comes as a shock to me, but Pinterest is considered one of the largest wedding-planning websites. Together with Knot Worldwide (another huge wedding-planning website), they are putting restrictions on wedding photos taking on plantations. The Chief Marketing Officer for the latter announced that they are working on compiling a list of guidelines to stop people from celebrating and romanticizing plantation history. She said that “We want to make sure we’re serving all our couples and that they don’t feel in any way discriminated against.” What prompted them to do so? Color of Change, which is a civil rights group, made such a request. They claim that while the scenery might be deemed “breathtaking” by some, it is painful to look at by African-Americans. Plantations have been synonymous with slave labor in the past.
Two celebrities, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, got married on a plantation seven years ago. In the past, slaves picked pecans and peaches there. While the Knot is planning on restricting people’s freedom of speech by banning the use of “language that glorifies, celebrates, or romanticizes Southern plantation history,” Pinterest plans on completely removing plantation wedding photos from their platform.
Color of Change, in their letter to Pinterest and Knot Worldwide, wrote that: “The decision to glorify plantations as nostalgic sites of celebration is not an empowering one for the Black women and justice-minded people who use your site.” When did we decide that everything must be empowering? Why not start banning everything that is not made out of cotton candy? Or chocolate. Or tea. One of those definitely empowers me. The vice president of Color of Change went as far as to compare plantations to concentration camps. She (or whatever pronoun she prefers) said that it would be weird and disrespectful to shoot your wedding photos at a site like that. Have you ever seen a photo of a plantation vs. a concentration camp? People have weird fetishes, but I know of no one that would think the view of a concentration camp was “breathtaking.”
Last time I checked, a beautiful view was a beautiful view. When you take photos while on vacation, do you think about all the people that were injured or killed nearby? If not, then you probably should. According to some people, anyway.
We have gone through this before. These are private companies. Why are people getting so outraged? They can do pretty much whatever they can. You go to the store, you see a product you do not like, you simply leave it there on the shelf for someone else to pick up (or not). You do not buy it simply to complain about how terrible it is. That would be a waste of everyone’s time. The simplest way to stop all that nonsense is to completely abandon social media platforms which are becoming problematic for you. If you are not ready to do just that, then I would recommend taking a deep breath and staying calm. It is what it is.
Maybe I should draft up a letter to someone demanding something. I am not sure to whom and what about the letter would be… But I know it would work because otherwise I would not feel empowered or included.
Do you read “Terms and Conditions” or do you just hit “Accept” without reading?
Do you review the updates to “Terms and Conditions” you receive once you are already using the services?
Will you stop using Twitter or Pinterest because of their recent changes?
Have you used Pinterest to plan your wedding?
What would have to happen for you to boycott the social media platforms you are currently using?
What do you think of when you see photos of plantations?
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