The social media giant Facebook has come under criticism lately for certain applications which require users to relinquish rights to their immortal souls. American lawyer, Ann Cultist, stated in a recent interview, “I have a number of clients who are facing an eternity of firey torment in the dungeons of the underworld because they clicked ‘I agree’ without reading the fine print.”
Some Facebook applications require the user to allow access to various amounts of personal information, such as cell phone numbers, names of friends, and favourite ice cream flavours. Many users, according to Cultist, merely scroll through the terms of service — which are often several pages long — and click the “agree” button without actually considering what they are getting into.
“The latest issue has been the ‘immortal soul’ clause,” says Cultist. “A number of applications have buried within their terms of service a clause similar to: ‘The user irrevocably assigns all rights to his or her immortal soul to this application and the designers thereof.’ There is also often a clause which requires the user to ‘do our bidding for all eternity and then some.'”
John Faust was one such user. One day, when he was home sick, he signed onto Facebook and installed an application called ‘Scabulous,’ a game that involves making words with coagulated blood. “The next thing I know there’s a knock at the door and this guy named Mephistopheles says I have to wash his car because I was playing Scabulous. That’s just bogus.”
Cultist says that laws still have not caught up with the 21st century. “Laws have always been on the books to protect people from their own stupidity,” she says. “But it used to be that you had to go out to lose your soul. Now you can do it from the comfort of your own home.”