We have also referred to the fact that SNS providers often offer their services for free, in the sense that users do not have to pay an actual fee or price (although they may ‘pay’ with other means, such as their personal data). We wonder, together with other scholars, whether this would justify a lower protection level for these kind of services compared to other contracts where consumers actually pay an amount of money. However, many questions arise in this context, which need further research. Can parallels be found with regard to other services that are offered ‘for free’ ? What about SNS providers that offer both free and paying services, such as LinkedIn, for instance? Should they use two different kinds of agreements, thus raising costs for the company?
Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect from SNS providers, which are after all profit-oriented companies which operate on the basis of business principles, that they only take the interests of their consumers into account. However, aspiring to a better balance between the rights and obligations of both parties should be a realistic goal.
Finally, the report also includes a practical legal guide for users.
You can download the report here.