Wal-Mart's Twitter Account Comes with a 3,379-word Terms of Use Agreement

Only lawyers, EULA collectors and legal obsessives will find this funny, but it cracked me up: care to access the 140-character pearls of wisdom streaming forth from Wal-Mart's Twitter account? Well, first you have to agree to the 3,379-word Terms of Use agreement that comes with it. I know, I know, a lot of big corporate entities on social networking sites likely put forth equally verbose TOUs, but -- a "Twitter Discussion Policy"? Awesome overkill. It all starts here. (via @zephoria)


  1. Just remember those lawyers have jobs with six figure encouragement. I’d probably be a typing monkey too.

  2. Funny, but the headline on WM’s own page isn’t really all that accurate. The Terms are really about accessing WM’s own page on its own site (www.walmartstores.com/twitter) and not to access Tweets through Twitter.

    We can argue about whether even that is overkill, but it’s really not what it’s being played as here (a license to see Tweets).

  3. On the one hand, this is definitely ridiculous, but on the other, there probably is a need to protect themselves. Corporations are under a much tighter lens than the public and need to be careful. And the public are absolutely not above abusing legal loopholes themselves to force such large companies into settlements. Better to spend six figures on a lawyer now than seven figures on a class-action later. Rather than shaking my head at Walmart, I’ll be shaking my head at a legal system that makes this sort of thing a necessity.

    And also, the Discussion Policy was obviously written by someone with some savvy. “Personal attacks and foul language = FAIL. Adding to the discussion = WIN” – sounds very similar to the policy of a certain blog not too far from here…

  4. Yeah, the EULA you point to is about accessing http://www.walmart.com/twitter, not the use of the twitter service:

    Thank you for visiting http://www.walmartstores.com/twitter (the “Site”). The Site includes a networking service operated by Wal-Mart-Stores, Inc. (“Wal-Mart”) to allow users to share experiences and communicate their thoughts and opinions. In light of the complexities governing the use and operation of websites, we have set forth below a series of Site Access and Use Terms (“Terms”) that apply to access to and use of the Site. We hope that you will understand that, in the complex legal world of the internet, website access and use terms are required. We have also included below, as part of the Terms, an identification of our agent for receipt of notice regarding copyright claims and other communications regarding the Site. BY CHOOSING TO ACCESS AND USE THIS SITE, YOU ARE EXPRESSLY AGREEING TO BE BOUND BY THESE TERMS.

    Link to Wal-Mart’s Twitter Terms of Use

    The twitter discussion policy seems pretty reasonable to me – it details how to determine if a “tweet” is an offical Wal-Mart communication or not, what they will and will not reply to, and their request that you add to the discussion and provide supporting evidence when possible:

    A few notes:

    •While many of our 2.2 million associates around the world are using Twitter and other social networks, all official Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Twitter users will be identified on this landing page and will have a link back to this page from their Twitter profile.

    •Unless otherwise noted, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. approved Twitter users will follow the following naming conventions of “business unit + name/category.” For example, “walmartradio,” “samsclubrobert,” and “walmartgames.”

    •We won’t reply to off topic @replies. Personal attacks and foul language = FAIL. Adding to the discussion = WIN.

    •@replies should contribute to the dialogue. Please support any claims with links to sources whenever possible. We love opinions. We love it even more when you back them up.

    Link to Wal-Mart’s Twitter External Discussion Policy

    Wow, what a bunch of tools – no wonder more Corp. don’t jump on the social networking bandwagon… What a bunch of crazy-a$$ rules and policies they have!

  5. I know, I know, a lot of big corporate entities on social networking sites likely put forth equally verbose TOUs, but — a “Twitter Discussion Policy”? Awesome overkill.

    Yeah, what kind of soulless corporate monkeys would institute a moderation policy on their social website?

  6. My favourite EULA comes from Terry Pratchett’s book, The Truth. Maybe Walmart will use it as a model:

    This device is provided without warranty of any kind as to reliability, accuracy, existence or otherwise or fitness for any particular purpose and Bioalchemic Products specifically does not warrant, guarantee, imply or make any representations as to its merchantability for any particular purpose and furthermore shall have no liability for or responsibility to you or any other person, entity or deity with respect of any loss or damage whatsoever caused by this device or object or by any attempts to destroy it by hammering it against a wall or dropping it into a deep well or any other means whatsoever and moreover asserts that you indicate your acceptance of this agreement or any other agreement that may be substituted at any time by coming within five miles of the product or observing it through large telescopes or by any other means because you are such an easily cowed moron who will happily accept arrogant and unilateral conditions on a piece of highly priced garbage that you would not dream of accepting on a bag of dog biscuits and is used solely at your own risk.

  7. Frankly I’m with Wal-Mart on this. Yeah, I know, how can any rational being side with Wal-Mart AND lawyers?????

    But here they are doing precisely what Twitter tell corporate users to do, create a landing page on their own site linking back to any official Twitter accounts they have. It’s a simple way for anyone to find out whether a Twitter account they’re following is authentic or not.

    And they are doing what I tell my clients to do, have a clear, simple use policy of dos and don’ts. The only real quibble I would have is whether there is any point forcing people to agree to them when all you need do it make sure they’ve read them. It’s guidance for wise people, the nutters wouldn’t be fazed by it anyway.

  8. I’m siding with The Man, too. The mouseprint is about its site, not tweets per se, and the idea that a real business would want to take real precautions when it does something isn’t unreasonable. The warning might be overkill (and I agree that no crazy is going to obey them any more than shoplifters follow rules against stuffing merch into their socks), but it’s not as uncool as some would make it out to be.

  9. The most sued corporation in America?

    You guessed it…Frank Stallone.

    Oops, I meant Wal-Mart. So they cover their legal asses. They need to.

  10. Forget the EULA, who could possibly be so horrifically banal as to want to read tweets from Wal-Mart? God help them…

  11. Cutting out the extraneous stuff at the top and bottom of the EULA page, it comes out to about 23056 characters including spaces. So it would take about 165 tweets to convey the EULA through their Twitter account.


  12. Matt, people whine that there’s no moderation policy so they put one up. Now you complain that there is one?

    [and there’s a big difference between a policy for using a service that a company is providing, versus a policy for using a service that a different company is providing.]

  13. The discussion policy even has “[..] = FAIL” and “[..] = WIN” in it. Oh FSM, this is like watching your dad trying to be hip.. cringe!

Comments are closed.