AOL member community guidelines

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AOL member community guidelines

IMPORTANT: AOL Screen Name is now known as AOL Username. You may still see Screen Name at some places as we are in the process of changing it across AOL. Please bear with us.

Welcome to the AOL community. In order to create the best possible experience for everyone, we request that you abide by the AOL community guidelines, our core code of conduct, in all of your activities on the AOL service. AOL offers a diverse and robust community through a wide range of products, services, and online areas (such as chat rooms and message boards). Some products, services, or areas may carry additional standards. Please review and abide by the standards of the areas you frequent.

The AOL account holder is responsible for all activities on that account. If you are the primary account holder, ensure that anyone who uses your account, or any Username on your account, is familiar with and agrees to abide by the community guidelines. You will be notified of all violations made by any Username on your account. Violations of the community guidelines can lead to actions ranging from a warning to AOL account suspension or outright termination. We expect all content and activities on the AOL service, whether generated by AOL, its partners, or its members, to comply with the community guidelines. By content, we mean the information, software, communications, images, sounds, and all the materials and information that members and others generate online. Member-generated content areas include, but are not limited to, chat rooms, message boards, and Instant Messages.

We usually do not pre-screen member-generated content, but we reserve the right to remove content that does not comport with the community guidelines. If you encounter content or communications that violate these guidelines, we encourage you to utilize the tools and resources outlined in the last section of this document.

AOL community guidelines

Respect others

  • Do not harass, abuse, or threaten another member. If you disagree with someone, respond to the subject and not to the person.
  • Do not use hate speech. Hate speech is unacceptable, and AOL reserves the right to take appropriate action against any account using the service to post, transmit, promote, distribute, or facilitate the distribution of content intended to victimize, harass, degrade, or intimidate an individual or group on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • Respect the context and intended audience of the online areas that you visit. Many services and communities carry additional standards. It is your responsibility to review and abide by those standards and ensure that your activity, language, and electronic transmissions are appropriate for that particular area. What is appropriate in some areas or contexts may not be appropriate in others.
  • Do not impersonate any person, business, or other entity. Doing so in an attempt to deceive, harass, or otherwise mislead another member is forbidden. You may not pretend to be an employee or representative of AOL or any of the AOL Inc. family of companies or affiliates.

Know and abide by the law

AOL has zero tolerance for illegal activity on the service. It is your responsibility to know and abide by the law. If you fail to do so, AOL reserves the right to take any action it deems warranted. In addition, AOL expects all members to review and abide by the AOL Member Agreement.

  • You (or others using your account) may not publish, post, transmit, promote, or distribute material (including software, photos, sounds, and written material) that is illegal or incites illegal activity, or use the AOL Network to conduct illegal activities. We terminate accounts and cooperate with law enforcement on such matters.
  • In addition to providing you with an easy way to report suspected illegal activity online through AOL Keyword: Notify AOL or http://notify.aol.com, we and our partners reserve the right to monitor public areas such as chat rooms and message boards.

Protect your children, your privacy, and your AOL account

Children are important members of our online community. AOL takes extra steps to protect their safety and improve their online experience. In addition to the protections that we and our partners put in place, we expect our members to uphold the highest standards to create a safe and rewarding online experience for children:

  • We strongly recommend that parents create separate Usernames for each child, who uses AOL, and designate appropriate Parental Controls for each Username. It is important for parents to know that children using accounts without Parental Controls can access all features and areas of the service, including content that may not be suitable for children, and will have the ability to make purchases using the credit card on file.
  • Parents are responsible for their childs behavior online. We expect each childs participation in all areas of the service, including chat and message boards, to reflect the appropriate community standards. Areas created primarily for use by children and teens carry more restrictive standards. Therefore, things that may be acceptable elsewhere on the service may not be acceptable within those areas. We encourage parents to review the community standards of their childs favorite online areas. If a child incurs a violation using any Username on the account, AOL will notify the primary master Username.
  • Protect your AOL account. Remember: AOL employees will NEVER ask for your password or billing information. Do not give your AOL password or billing information to anyone or enter it in a website that opens after you click a hyperlink (for example, hyperlinks provided within an email or Instant Message), even if it is an official-looking website, as these can be imitated by scam artists or hackers. For your own protection, change your password often. It is forbidden to solicit password and/or billing or credit card information from AOL members.
  • Be wary of computer files, images, and software from individuals you don't know. Be sure to review AOL's Safety & Security area to remain current on how to best protect your billing information, your account, and your computer.

Use the AOL network responsibly and exercise common sense

  • As stated in the AOL Member Agreement, we prohibit unauthorized use of the AOL Network. This includes distribution of unsolicited commercial or bulk communications and any material containing software viruses or any other computer code, files, or programs designed to interrupt, destroy, or limit the functionality of any computer software, hardware, or telecommunications equipment. We will take all legal and technical measures to prevent such abuse.
  • When participating in other Internet products -- including AOL branded services such as AOL.com and AOL Instant Messenger ("AIM"), you are subject to those standards, which may be different from AOLs community guidelines.
  • There are many valuable sites on the rest of the Internet, but standards and norms vary broadly. AOL cannot remove or otherwise take action with respect to the content and conduct you may encounter on these websites. You should review the policies for each website you visit.
  • When visiting AOL International areas, your conduct is governed by the standards of that area. International areas online (including AOL branded International areas) may have different rules of conduct and standards for acceptable content. You should refer to the rules applicable in those areas. Be aware that because of these varying country norms, you may also see programmed content not available on the U.S. AOL service.

Getting help: Online resources

AOL relies on its community members -- you -- to help maintain community standards. We strongly encourage you to use the tools and resources that we provide to help us ensure that you and anyone using your account have the best possible online experience.

  • AOL's suite of tools can help you manage your online interactions with others and protect your account and your computer. These tools include mail Controls to block unwanted email, settings to block unwanted communication from other members, Parental Controls to safeguard children's use of the service, Marketing Preferences, and Password Protection tips. Please visit AOL Keyword: Safety or http://daol.aol.com/security to learn more.
  • If you encounter member-generated content that you find objectionable, and if the tools are not sufficient to address the member who you believe is violating the community guidelines, you can alert AOL by going to AOL Keyword: Notify AOL or http://notify.aol.com or by clicking the Report Spam or Notify AOL button. AOL will review your report. If a member violates the community guidelines, AOL will issue written warnings. If the violation(s) are serious, AOL may suspend or terminate the account. Similarly, if someone reports you to us, believing that your content or conduct has violated the community guidelines, we will investigate and may take action on your account.



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Last updated: 02-29-2012
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