Sorry, folks. If you “like” us on Facebook, you can’t sue us.
That’s right. If you're a U.S. citizen who likes the company on Facebook, signs up for one of its e-newsletters or interacts with it on various other online platforms like Twitter, you’re out of legal luck. If you download a General Mills coupon or enter one of its contests, you're also up the creek with no legal recourse. '
Bottom line: If you’re guilty of getting social with the company online, facing binding arbitration and informal negotiation are now the only choices you get. The first of which is almost unheard of in the major food industry.
Then again, nothing about General Mills’ overhauled legal and privacy rules is business-as-usual. Its new social media stipulation-laden legal terms tweaks are believed to be what The New York Times calls “one of the first, if not the first” of their kind in the corporate food industry.
So far, we haven’t been able to dig up similar privacy and legal policy verbiage from comparable food manufacturers or other unrelated large companies that even come close. But we expect similar mega food manufacturers and corporations in other industries will soon follow in General Mills’ big footsteps.
The sugary cereal maker’s sneaky new language was rolled out to no doubt help it avoid pricey court battles, which it's no stranger to in its 148-year history.
Last March a judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought upon General Mills by two mothers who accused it of falsely marketing its highly-processed Nature Valley products as “natural” foods. Also, the company paid a whopping $8.5 million last year to settle a case involving deceptive digestive health claims about its Yoplait Yo-Plus probiotic yogurt.
What’s next? Surgeons making it impossible for patients they left sponges in -- who also happened to like their Facebook page -- to sue?