Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Social Media. It’s a catch phrase that used to carry with it so much promise. You could keep up to date with friends across the world from the comfort of your home and in your own time. Then came the social games, which offered the chance to play games with all your online friends and gain in-game rewards for the amount of people you had attached to your “friends” list. Then came the gamification of knowledge, with its badges of honour for depth of knowledge as awarded by your peers. Then … Then came this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=D5fB5d2mqnc

Now, at first I suspected it was a parody, or a prank being played by a group of hilarious friends… Not so. I went to the website and had a look around.

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Looks fairly innocent, right? Well, let’s look further…

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Ummmmm… So, you’re just the platform on which this craziness can occur, but you accept no responsibility if anyone gets hurt, or if anything illegal happens.

THAT’S MADNESS!!!

See, this is the fundamental flaw that most people seem to not realise about the interwebs. All that stuff we skip past called the Terms Of Service? Yeah, that actually is just a document (for the most part) about how we, the user, accepts all responsibility for the stuff we do through these various services, but that the services themselves accept no responsibility for … well … much at all really.

Service outages? Not their problem.

Damage occurring from use of service? Not their problem.

Illegal activity performed on their service? Not their problem.

Making sure that all challenges are sane, safe and not illegal? Completely the user’s problem! Because we users have been so good in the past at keeping that in mind when doing stupid things on the intertubes.

I think this situation deserves:

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Now, I know that writing about this will provide the site with a multitude of hits, which is exactly what it wants in order to justify its existence. The reason I’m writing, rather than ignoring, is that people I know will sign up to this stupidity and then I’ll be forced to hear about it more… Also, people will sign up without reading the ToS (because that’s what we all do) and will get hurt, try to sue and be slapped in the face with the stupid fish.

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