ENCOURAGE USERS TO SPEAK FREELY

Promote diverse speech and speakers.

If your product or service allows users to interact with each other, it is in your best interest to encourage user expression. The more freedom your users have to express themselves freely, the more likely they are to interact deeply with your service, with lasting benefits to everyone involved.

GIVE USERS CONTROL OVER HOW THEIR CONTENT IS USED
Respecting your users’ contributions means respecting the legal rights they have in their content and their choices about how to engage with your service. Avoiding an aggressive stance on your ability to reuse users’ content and letting your users decide what to say on your service and when to say it may win you more users in the long run.
Case Study

Instagram's Policy Changes Trigger #instahate

In late 2012, Instagram ignited a massive user backlash when it released a new privacy policy and terms of use that gave the company and its new owner, Facebook, broad access to user data and photos for commercial use.

In late 2012, Instagram ignited a massive user backlash when it released a new privacy policy and terms of use that gave the company and its new owner, Facebook, broad access to user data and photos for commercial use. The policy, which would have allowed Instagram to sell the rights to photos posted to the service, triggered widespread outrage. Critics dubbed it the service’s “suicide note” as users threatened to leave en masse. Even celebrity super user Kim Kardashian took to the social network airwaves to call out the company and question the fairness of the new policy. Instagram quickly backpedaled on the offending language, but not in time to avoid losing users to rival companies or to preserve customer goodwill.

CLEARLY DISTINGUISH YOUR OWN SPEECH
Your company is entitled to express its own position. But it is important to make it clear when your company is speaking on its own behalf or simply relaying user expression. Making it easy for users to distinguish between the two can avoid incidents that erode trust in your product and company.
Case Study

LinkedIn Pays for Spamming Users’ Contact Lists

LinkedIn faced a class action lawsuit and the alienation of potential users for spamming contacts of its current users with invitations to join the service.

LinkedIn faced a class action lawsuit and the alienation of potential users for spamming contacts of its current users with invitations to join the service. Although LinkedIn did request permission to email these contacts, it failed to inform users that invitations would be sent repeatedly unless the recipient accepted or explicitly declined. LinkedIn ultimately paid $13 million in late 2015 to settle a class action lawsuit over the unexpected emails.

93% of Americans want full rights to some, if not all, of their online information (2014).

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