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Frequently Asked Questions on TOS changes regarding information sharing and interviews

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Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
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I can understand the reasons for Upwork wishing to implement this new rule. However, it is shortsighted, as it is not only in the beginning stages that a client (even a kosher one) who will try to take a freelancer off site. So I don't think this will work.

 

It is not a huge stretch, these days, for any client to find a freelancer on the internet - even with minimum information. So it is a bit shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. Particularly as Upwork leaves a freelancer totally in the dark as to the background of the client - especially a new client. For example: a scammer who pretends to be part of a large corporation in order to get the bank details from an unwary freelancer, or a student, or essay mill looking to cheat the academic system by hiring people prepared to write their course work for them, and so on. 

 

It is easy and cheap to track the  exchange of contact details. It is not so easy or cheap to implement complete transparency. However, if banks can do this globally, making international tax fraud extremely difficult, Upwork should be able to profitably implement some kind of screening that will deter/ban scam clients and false freelancers and provide transparency for all genuine Upwork users. 

 

Some years ago, another site - not as powerful as Upwork - tried the same forbidding of  contact details. They have since backtracked. 

 

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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
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Valeria K wrote:

Hi Shannon,

 

I understand that you're referring to the current educational messaging that appears in Upwork Messages when certain keywords are used. We will continue to enhance this feature, as well as use every opportunity we can to help our users learn about the “do’s and don’ts” of using Upwork. Meanwhile, we're notifying all users about the new Terms of Service updates via email and site announcements. And now we are focused on making sure freelancers and clients understand the new terms and avoid any issues. [emphasis added]


But not, apparently, by just telling us/them what the terms are at the point where we/they need to know.

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Ace Contributor
Valerie S Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
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Valeria K wrote:

Hi Shannon,

 

I understand that you're referring to the current educational messaging that appears in Upwork Messages when certain keywords are used. We will continue to enhance this feature, as well as use every opportunity we can to help our users learn about the “do’s and don’ts” of using Upwork. Meanwhile, we're notifying all users about the new Terms of Service updates via email and site announcements. And now we are focused on making sure freelancers and clients understand the new terms and avoid any issues. 


Valeria, every client I have spoken to has NOT heard of these changes, and the last one I spoke to laughed when I asked him if he'd received an email in regards, he said he might have gotten one, but he gets too many emails to read. So I think Upwork needs to rethink the means of announcement, since you clearly stated it would not be upon us to do so. 

 

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ENHANCED BEFORE 6/26

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Community Leader
Lucio Ricardo M Member Since: May 16, 2018
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The Upwork staff said that if there is needed to share emails for file sharing or if your portfolio, for example your github profile, contains your e-mail, you should tell the client not to communicate through such means until a contract is established. But the new terms of service don't state this execption for the non shraing of contact details. so that, although this permission is stated in this post, Upwork could punish me if I shared contact details before a contract stating to use it only for the file-sharing and not for contact, because such exception for the email address sharing prohibition is not stated in the new TOS.

Also, a concern is because my profile name is my full name and on Facebook I use the same full name (and I think that this is the case of many freelancers), but technically it could be considered as a violation of the TOS using the new text of that TOS.

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Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
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Upwork does not own the freelancers on its books and it does not own its clients. If a client who happens to have an account on Upwork finds a freelancer on LinkedIn, who has also worked on Upwork, this does not mean that either client or freelancer has circumvented. 

 

ETA: If Upwork wants to "own" me  then Upwork is going to have to pay me a retainer. (a liveable wage after tax)

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George S Member Since: Jun 2, 2011
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Where are the exceptions mentioned in the new TOS ?

 

The agreement between Upwork and myself is on the bases of the TOS document not a forum post! If the exceptions listed here are not specifically included in the TOS, then they are non-binding and pretty much meaningless.

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Sean S Member Since: Mar 2, 2020
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George S wrote:

Where are the exceptions mentioned in the new TOS ?

 

The agreement between Upwork and myself is on the bases of the TOS document not a forum post! If the exceptions listed here are not specifically included in the TOS, then they are non-binding and pretty much meaningless.


This (screenshot below) was the offical reply given earlier today regarding similar questions. I'm not educated in the law. I don't know how valid or legally binding any of this is. Just passing along the official response that was given regarding the subject from various people asking.

 

ToS-updates-Valeria.JPG

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
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re: "I'm not educated in the law. I don't know how valid or legally binding any of this is."

 

This has nothing to do with "the law." This is about Upwork TOS. (But not ONLY Upwork TOS.)

 

Everything on Upwork is governed by a combination of Upwork TOS, Upwork system source code, and how Upwork employees and users actually use the system.

 

The new policy about keeping communications on Upwork is something we intend to follow because we want to follow Upwork's rules... whether we do that to be collegial or polite or responsible, or out of fear of being sanctioned, or for other reasons. But like many Upwork rules, this is primarily on the honor system.

 

There is certainly no law outside of Upwork, such as within the federal penal code, that suggests that people can't communicate via Zoom during a freelance job interview period.

 

When in Rome, we follow the laws of Rome. When on Upwork, we follow Upwork's rules.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
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I think what makes some people uncomfortable is the fact that how things work on Upwork is not ENTIRELY spelled out in the posted TOS.


There are other sources of rules, including policy guidelines followed by Upwork employees, rules enforced by source code, and unwritten rules. There are things that are in TOS which are there for a reason, but which are not necessarily enforced with the same consistency or level of exactitude as other things.

 

This is true everywhere.

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Ace Contributor
Sean S Member Since: Mar 2, 2020
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Preston H wrote:

re: "I'm not educated in the law. I don't know how valid or legally binding any of this is."

 

This has nothing to do with "the law." This is about Upwork TOS. (But not ONLY Upwork TOS.)

 

Everything on Upwork is governed by a combination of Upwork TOS, Upwork system source code, and how Upwork employees and users actually use the system.

 

The new policy about keeping communications on Upwork is something we intend to follow because we want to follow Upwork's rules... whether we do that to be collegial or polite or responsible, or out of fear of being sanctioned, or for other reasons. But like many Upwork rules, this is primarily on the honor system.

 

There is certainly no law outside of Upwork, such as within the federal penal code, that suggests that people can't communicate via Zoom during a freelance job interview period.

 

When in Rome, we follow the laws of Rome. When on Upwork, we follow Upwork's rules.


I agree with all of that. I personally view Upwork as Upwork, whether it is official replies or written TOS. It's all, at the end of the day, Upwork saying it. So within that realm, I would just reference whatever Upwork-specific verbiage was in place. It seems that this line of reasoning was also confirmed by Valeria and Vladimir.

This is where my statement of ignorance comes in about law. Wasn't sure if the other post above me spoke about something being 'binding' in a legal sense, maybe they had some other insight outside of Upwork that I was unaware of. Thus my wholehearted claim of ignorance for any outside intervention with the legal system.

 

Thanks for further clarity, Preston.

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