THE MAGAZINE

A Site to See: TOSBack

By John Wagley
Few people bother to read the lengthy terms of service (TOS) agreements that companies post online. But changes can mean a lot to site visitors. Recently at Facebook, for instance, a TOS change, relating to data ownership, led to widespread member complaints. Under pressure, the site gave users a chance to vote and eventually reversed course.
 
But other changes may barely be noticed or not gain attention until too late. But TOSBack provides a way to learn about any TOS changes at about 50 leading Internet destinations, including many of the most popular social networking sites. Visitors can view word-by-word comparisons of changes. The site does not guarantee total accuracy and urges concerned users to double check with the original site. The significance of some changes may be difficult to immediately assess, given many TOS statements’ complex language. But the site could help alert people to potential problems.

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