Week 4 Prompt on Terms of Service
One of the components of social networks most of us don’t look at, let alone read in detail (unless we are researching it), are the long and windy Terms of Service. Although substantial changes to the ToS often cause strong reactions from the platform’s users and force a dialogue, ideas of what is and what isn’t sexually appropriate stay thorny.
Prompt 1: Look at terms of service (ToS) of websites/platforms you frequent (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Grindr, Tinder). Find the sections in which any reference to sexuality is mentioned. Write an essay analyzing the ToS of one of these websites. What kind of sexual representation do the policies/ToS facilitate? What policies are there and how they create conditions for particular (sexual) states of being ? Pay specific attention to the language used. Re-write the terms of service that fit with your conception of consent, minimizing risk, and promoting safety.
An example of a close reading of Instagram‘s ToS as it relates to their ways of monitoring sexuality can be seen in, Feminist Self-Imaging and Instagram: Tactics of Circumventing Sensorship (2014).