Although not the most thrilling reading material, Terms and Conditions are a necessary part of life, protecting the company and the user and providing information about legal rights and responsibilities. This week, I explored the LinkedIn User Agreement. LinkedIn updated their Agreement in October of 2014. They provide a summary of the updates here. The language is very user-friendly.
The User Agreement is divided into sections. Each section has two columns – a short user-friendly summary in the left column and a longer, wordier version on the right. Reading the right column gives the reader the complete terms of the Agreement. Reading only the left column leaves out key points that are important. For example: In the left column of section 1.2, you will see, “you are entering into a legal agreement and you agree to all of these terms.” In the right column of this section, it goes on to explain that, “you are entering into a legally binding agreement (even if you are using our Services on behalf of a company).” It is important to note that any employee who maintains a company LinkedIn page is responsible for adhering to the terms of this Agreement.
The Agreement does a great job explaining the expectations of the user but it doesn’t attempt to regurgitate the law. They make their points but also let the user know that in all cases, the law ultimately applies. Because the most important section in the Agreement is LinkedIn “DOs” and “DON’Ts.” it was wise that they made the material easy to read by displaying it in bulleted lists. Even if the user skips the rest of the Agreement and lands on this section, they have enough information to know how to properly use the services. People often embellish or lie about their experience in order to obtain a job. LinkedIn makes it clear that you are not allowed to make any misrepresentations. It is also sure to make the point that escort services are off limits. Any potential ethical issues that could arise from improper use of LinkedIn are covered in this section, protecting both LinkedIn and the users and maintaining the professional atmosphere that makes the platform so desirable for their audience.