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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > UT apartments force Facebook contract on tenants, rage ensues

UT apartments force Facebook contract on tenants, rage ensues
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May 30, 2016, 01:04 PM
 
A Salt Lake City, UT apartment complex is forcing a "Facebook Addendum" on its tenants. The addition to existing leases requires the renters to friend the apartment complex within five days. Failure to do so is considered a breach of the rental agreement by the complex. Additionally, the contract addendum includes a release allowing the property owners to post pictures of the tenants and any visitors to the complex without additional permissions, and at any time, for any reason.

The addendum also prohibits negative comments about the complex on social media. Despite the ban, City Park Apartment tenants are taking to the complex's Facebook page today to air grievances about the property today across a wide range of social media outlets.

KSL was told by tenant Jason Ring that "I don't want to be forced to be someone's friend and be threatened to break my lease because of that. It's outrageous as far as I'm concerned." Ring is moving out after this, the last month of his lease.

Hepworth, Murray & Associates attorney Zachary Myers said of the addendum that "The biggest issue that I have with it is that it seems to be discriminatory against elderly individuals and disabled individuals who are unable to utilize an online presence such as Facebook." Myers recommends that renters not sign as they may not be required to do so to add to an existing contract. Any signed and returned addendum pages are legally enforceable.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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May 30, 2016, 04:11 PM
 
Priceless.

I'm just waiting for the whole Facebook thing to fall. Hopefully, in a decade, internet users will look at Facebook like we look at AOL. It's pretty much a direct parallel unless they succeed in the takeover.
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prl99
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May 30, 2016, 04:47 PM
 
Wow, I wonder when the first lawyer will challenge their contract as an invasion of privacy and lack of freedom of speech.
     
Ham Sandwich
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May 30, 2016, 06:10 PM
 
Yeah, major privacy violation.
     
DiabloConQueso
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May 30, 2016, 11:11 PM
 
On what grounds would a lawyer tackle the "free speech" thing? The apartment complex management company is not the government and therefore the First Amendment doesn't come into play here at all. Restricting someone's free speech is not illegal if neither of the parties is the government.

Not all things that seem to violate privacy are illegal. Especially not when you sign them away under contract.

I'm obviously not in favor of this stupid and obviously overreaching lease addendum, but let's at least attack it with things that are correct.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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May 31, 2016, 12:35 AM
 
For sure. Free-speech is about government intervention, so this would be better termed censorship. Since companies always have to do some form of censorship in a civilized society, maybe overbearing censorship.

The thing is, this apartment complex will just end up looking really stupid from this... and rightfully so. I'm guessing Scott Stratten will get a lot of mileage out of this one on Unpodcast.

But, what's more scary to me is Facebook offering 'free internet' in places like India, which isn't really internet at all. Or, the type of censorship of downgrading conservative viewpoints we've heard about recently. Or, actually, that so many have just rolled over and gone with Facebook (people publishing there solely, using their groups for everything from soup-to-nuts, or using them for website commenting systems) in various ways.
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Makosuke
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May 31, 2016, 11:29 AM
 
Every time I read about something like this, I wonder how someone thought it would be a good idea. Requiring your customers/users/whatever to sign a contract prohibiting them from speaking badly about you on social media pretty much uniformly results in *way* more social media bad press than you could have possibly prevented by trying to prohibit it.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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May 31, 2016, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Makosuke View Post
Every time I read about something like this, I wonder how someone thought it would be a good idea.
You should listen to Unpodcast by Scott Stratten that I mentioned above. It happens all the time, and isn't always little companies either. But, it's especially bad in smaller companies with emperor-wanna-be leaders... or *really* bad with mayors and city-leaders of small towns. (My wife has to deal with these kind of folks for her job, and I could tell you stories...)
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chaaalie
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May 31, 2016, 02:09 PM
 
Uh, unless the reporter or landlord is really clueless/lazy (a very distinct possibility), the language calling for someone to "friend" an inanimate object indicates the apartment complex has violated Facebook's Terms of Service: You "friend" people; you "like" or "follow" PAGES for businesses, locations, concepts, municipalities, (and even celebrities) ... a business with an identity that is entered as a "person" is a violation of the TOS and can be deleted if several people flag it.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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May 31, 2016, 02:14 PM
 
To say nothing of forcing people to friend you in a contract like this is also against the TOS...
     
Inkling
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May 31, 2016, 02:36 PM
 
Chaaalie and Mike make a good points. Perhaps the best solution is to get Facebook to drop this apartment complex, citing their bullying of Facebook members. The result would be the exactly opposite of what the owners intended, which is good.
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just a poster
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Jun 7, 2016, 04:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by DiabloConQueso View Post
On what grounds would a lawyer tackle the "free speech" thing? The apartment complex management company is not the government and therefore the First Amendment doesn't come into play here at all. Restricting someone's free speech is not illegal if neither of the parties is the government.

Not all things that seem to violate privacy are illegal. Especially not when you sign them away under contract.

I'm obviously not in favor of this stupid and obviously overreaching lease addendum, but let's at least attack it with things that are correct.
Isn't the apartment complex technically a "governing body" in the landlord-tenant relationship?
     
just a poster
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Jun 7, 2016, 04:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post
Chaaalie and Mike make a good points. Perhaps the best solution is to get Facebook to drop this apartment complex, citing their bullying of Facebook members. The result would be the exactly opposite of what the owners intended, which is good.
You're giving facebook too much credit. I hardly find it an arbiter of good taste or justice, nor do I trust it enough to assign it to that role.
     
   
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