I know that I should always read the fine print when signing up for a service online. But, I never do. When I originally signed up for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instragram, etc, I don’t remember ever once reading even half of the fine print or contract agreement, not to mention it in its entirety. Now, I know this is a bad idea but I have a feeling that I’m far from alone. Plus, would something that I find in the fine print really turn me away from signing up or using a service just as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? Probably not.

However, there are things in the fine print that are simply unbelievable. For example, a CNN Money article reported that LinkedIn’s terms of services says the social network has permission to do whatever it wants with your ideas. The company has permission to claim anything you share on the professional networking service and change it, share it or profit from it. That even applies in ways that haven’t even been discovered or invented yet. The article goes on to list several other ubiquitous services that have equally egregious contract terms.

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Joe Lan

Joe Lan is a financial analyst for AAII. Joe is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, where he earned a bachelor's degree with a double major in accounting and finance and holds a master's degree in accounting and financial management from the Keller Graduate School of Management. Joe writes extensively for Computerized Investing and is a frequent contributor to the AAII Journal. Joe also sits on the advisory committees for the Stock Superstars Report and Dividend Investing newsletters. Lan is a holder of the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

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