Fact Check

Why T-Mobile's Terms of Service Update Likely Doesn't Apply to You

The policy change only applies to mass marketing messages and will not affect consumers.

Published Jan 4, 2024

 (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
Image Via Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Claim:
Social media posts from December 2023 accurately claimed that a change in T-Mobile's terms of service would allow the company to fine customers for sharing content "they [T-Mobile] don't agree with"
Context

The terms of service change is real, but it's an initiative targeting automated spam texts. No consumers will be fined.

Terms of service agreements are best known as those massive blocks of text you scroll through as fast as possible so that you can hit "accept terms and conditions" and get on with your life. But in December 2023, a change in one particular company's terms of service caught the eye of conservative journalist and activist Laura Loomer.

On Dec. 24, 2023, Loomer alerted consumers to an upcoming change in the terms of service of the telecommunications company T-Mobile via a screenshot and a post on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter. According to her tweet, which featured a screenshot of a support page explaining the change, T-Mobile "quietly updated their TOS [terms of service] to include fines for content they don’t agree with."

The original tweet was viewed more than 10 million times and the message was shared across different social media platforms, from Facebook to TikTok.

(@LauraLoomer on X)

While terms-of-service changes were indeed coming, Loomer's tweets weren't accurate.

T-Mobile is not going to begin fining everyday customers who distribute content that the company doesn't agree with. In posts on T-Mobile's support forum, representatives from the company explained that the change will only affect commercial, mass-texts, like those found in marketing campaigns, and that no private users will be fined.

The original screenshot from Loomer's tweet linked to a support page for Bandwidth.com, a separate communications company that provides some of the services subject to the fines.

Snopes reached out to Loomer for comment but has not yet received a response.

Sources

“Bandwidth | Solve Global Telecomplexity.” Bandwidth, https://www.bandwidth.com/. Accessed 28 Dec. 2023.

“Consumer versus Non-Consumer Text Messaging.” T-Mobile Support, https://www.t-mobile.com/support/plans-features/consumer-versus-non-consumer-text-messaging. Accessed 28 Dec. 2023.

“Https://Twitter.Com/LauraLoomer/Status/1739009180197925005.” X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/LauraLoomer/status/1739009180197925005. Accessed 28 Dec. 2023.

If This Is True Then I’m Outta Here | T-Mobile Community. 26 Dec. 2023, https://community.t-mobile.com/plans-and-service-60/if-this-is-true-then-i-m-outta-here-54999.

“PSA: Laura Loomer Is a Sensationalist Idiot, and T-Mobile Is Not Going to Fine Anyone.” /R/TMobile, 24 Dec. 2023, https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/18q6id4/psa_laura_loomer_is_a_sensationalist_idiot_and/.

Terms of Service Pilicy Change and Fines against Customers | T-Mobile Community. 25 Dec. 2023, https://community.t-mobile.com/plans-and-services-36/terms-of-service-pilicy-change-and-fines-against-customers-54984?postid=212677.

T-Mobile Code of Conduct. Nov. 2020, https://www.t-mobile.com/support/public-files/attachments/T-Mobile%20Code%20of%20Conduct.pdf.

Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.