Disney angers Twitter users by claiming a Star Wars hashtag constitutes a contractual agreement

Disney has ignited a rebellion on Twitter by stating that the use of a hashtag implied consent to Disney's terms of use.

The use of the #MayThe4th hashtag has long been linked to Star Wars, with the date sounding similar to the film catchphrase "May the force be with you". Over the years, 4 May - aka Star Wars Day - has been tied to fan content campaigns using the hashtag for exposure and sharing. This year was going to be no different, with Disney drumming up attention for the 4 May release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on home media.

But in the case of this year's online celebration, many fans feel Disney may have turned to dark side.

It started happily enough. In a standard tweet, Disney Plus called for fans to reply with their favourite "Star Wars" memories, with the possibility of seeing it "somewhere special" on 4 May. However, its follow-up tweet bluntly and bizarrely stated that use of the #MayThe4th hashtag implied acceptance of Disney's terms of use. 

The implication of this was that any use of the #MayThe4th hashtag by a Twitter user was allowing consent for Disney to have rights to the content of their posts that included the hashtag (which could include media content including original art) for use across all its media platforms.

Twitter users were understandably infuriated at the statement. Several legal and marketing experts even jumped into the conversation to voice that Disney was being ridiculous to push that a hashtag could give away content rights to this extent or that Disney had ownership of the hashtag in the first place.

Hours later, Disney tried to backtrack arguing that the legal language only applied to tweets in the specific thread that used the hashtag and mentioned Disney Plus. But if Disney had hoped it had gained the high ground, it was going to be disappointed as Twitter users still railed against Disney for what they saw as an overreach.

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