YouTube Updates Terms of Service for States
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has been in talks with social media sites like Facebook, Google and Twitter to make their contract terms more amenable to state governments. Generally the social media “click-through” contracts, or Terms of Service Agreements, have two salient issues: first, they have indemnity clauses that could require state governments to pay legal fees related to a lawsuit against the companies and second, cases often would need to be tried in the court of the company’s home state. Thanks to the diligent work of NASCIO’s Social Media Legal Workgroup, Facebook has already provided a revamped contract for state officials, and now Google’s YouTube has made similar updates.
Special agreements between social media sites and the government have precedence. For example, Facebook created a special agreement for the federal government through the General Services Administration, and states wanted similar treatment. Before Facebook provided an updated contract, some states banned use of the site by state officials, with Colorado taking a notably hard line. Colorado, like a few other states, has laws that prevent its participation in the basic “Terms of Service” agreements. That’s why NASCIO has been hard at work helping connect these companies and the services they offer with state governments in a way that is practical for all parties, with YouTube being the latest addition.
NASCIO, in bringing these entities together, was able to work out a standard contract for YouTube that is more appropriate for state agencies. Having that agreement means that YouTube will not have to juggle multiple contracts. When a state’s chief information officer wants the modified contract, they can contact NASCIO to get access to it. This development will be especially important to states who want to increasingly take advantage of the platform. North Dakota, for example, will be using YouTube to educate its residents about taxes.