General Mills goes back on legal policy due to Facebook outrage

Posted Apr 20, 2014

General Mills angered social media users this past week after it updated its legal policy. The legal policy was interpreted as preventing customers from suing the company if they “Like” any of its brands on Facebook. General Mills reversed the change in response to the blowback. 

“Those terms -? and our intentions -? were widely misread, causing concern among consumers,” stated General Mills’ director of external communications Kirstie Foster. “So we?ve listened ?- and we?re changing them back to what they were before.”

On Thursday, The New York Times posted an article about how General Mills quietly “added language” to its legal policy that said a customer’s right to sue was taken away if they engaged in several activities, including “Liking” the brand on Facebook.

The portion of the legal document that The New York Times referred to when accusing General Mills of blocking consumers from suing them for engaging with the brand on Facebook was:

“In exchange for the benefits, discounts, content, features, services, or other offerings that you receive or have access to by using our websites, joining our sites as a member, joining our online community, subscribing to our email newsletters, downloading or printing a digital coupon, entering a sweepstakes or contest, redeeming a promotional offer, or otherwise participating in any other General Mills offering, you are agreeing to these terms.”

General Mills denied the accusation. “No one is precluded from suing us by purchasing our products at a store, and no one is precluded from suing us when they ‘like’ one of our Facebook pages,” said a General Mills spokesperson. The spokesperson said it was a “mischaracterization.”

General Mills ended up cancelling the policy change and apologized to customers for the confusion.

“We?re sorry we even started down this path. And we do hope you?ll accept our apology,” said a General Mills spokesperson on Saturday. “We also hope that you?ll continue to download product coupons, talk to us on social media or look for recipes on our websites.”