The following is a guest post by Jeff Lyons, a current student in my IDC4U class.
Recently, I was tasked with creating a page with “Storify” for a school assignment. Now, I'm always leery of signing up for new websites or services, as I highly value both my security and the amount of space in my inbox. Nevertheless, I signed up with Storify, handing out my email as requested, and began amassing the links and information required for my topic, despite the difficulties involved (my topic was DRM and Piracy in games, and the school board blocks most gaming news websites and blogs.) Everything was going along fine, until I signed off for the day and returned the next. When I went to edit and format my page, I was greeted with this:
Connect with my Twitter account? You mean the one I don't have? The one you never mentioned before? Well that's just...brilliant. I hope the dripping sarcasm is oozing through your monitor right now.
So why are they telling me after I start using Storify that I need to also give them my Twitter information? Why do they require it in the first place? Is Twitter integration mandatory? Would they, if I made a Twitter account for them, tell me to give them my Facebook username and password at a later date? (You can choose to use your Facebook or Twitter accounts to sign up for Storify, but I prefer to keep my educational, work, and social lives as separate as humanly possible) And it's not just because I don't have or want a Twitter account. It's not just because they require one for use.
It's because they spring it on you like this. “Oh hi, there! We see you're enjoying our product! Now, if you want to continue using it, fork over your info!” I mean, if they do this now, what's next? My real-world address? My Social Insurance Number? They can't even say it was in the fine print. I checked. There is no fine print.
Okay, maybe there is. My mistake. But does it mention requiring other accounts anywhere? Nope. Not anywhere else in the TOS, either. Ctrl+F is quite useful in that regard.
You know, this is a really shady way of operating, this cutting the user off suddenly and demanding account information. It's basically holding the account for ransom. And I don't negotiate with terrorists. I guess it's a nice ironic twist that my chosen topic was DRM. Most current forms of DRM are really scummy too, and end up preventing legitimate customers from playing more than it does the pirates. Well, no matter. I have other options, other steps to complete the assignment.
And Storify? You just lost yourself a user.