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Social Media Told To Simplify Terms And Conditions

Click Here To Sign Away Your Soul

‘Our Terms and Conditions have changed. Please confirm that you agree to continue.’

I bet that not a single one of you has ever read though the monstrously long terms that we’re presented with these days. I don’t think I've ever read though them, not even once. I don’t think I've even ever attempted to. But why would we? We would have an easier and quicker time if we tried to make it through the Bible. Not that I've ever attempted to read that either.

social media agreement
source: rocofilms.com

However, this could all change as social media sites, including the giants like Facebook and Twitter, are being told to simplify their terms and conditions. Specifically in regards to how our information is collected and distributed.

A report by the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee says that the terms and conditions we have to agree to are far too long and complex. The MPs go on to say that any normal person would struggle with the extremely long privacy policies and have likened trying to decipher it as ‘engaging with Shakespeare’.

I mean – I can’t be the only one who finds Shakespeare a little bit simpler than these T+C’s. I've got to thank my old English Literature teacher Mrs. Griffin for that. She was a star.

The report claims that all these terms and conditions have been tailor-made to suit big US courtrooms and have been designed for the sole purpose of protecting these companies should anything go sour for them – rather than to help actually show users what the terms and conditions are.

The MP chairing this committee, Andrew Miller, commented that the report "highlighted serious concerns about the extent to which ticking the 'terms and conditions' box can be said to constitute informed consent when it comes to the varied ways data is now being used by many websites and apps".

The report wants these social media sites to have to abide by rules set out by the government in which they explain to users just how their information is being used – in a simple and clear manner that even I could understand.

Facebook and Twitter have both recently revealed updates intheir terms and conditions. Facebook claims it has listened carefully to its users and made changes accordingly to make things more simple. They're still very complex, mind. While Twitter has outlined that it takes information stored on other apps in our phones so that they can deliver us tailored content. Feels a tiny bit invasive. I always find myself getting overprotective when a new app that I’m going to use to check the weather wants access to my camera.

social media properties
informationsecuritybuzz.com

Terms and Conditions have become quite a daunting thing and have been in a forefront of attention recently, not just in terms of social media. Sony Entertainment recently came under scrutiny after changing their T+Cs which took a fair few liberties away from Playstation users. Apple’s ever growing iTunes terms have also been a popular choice to highlight. It was even given its own South Park episode which mocked everything we could be signing away when we click ‘I Agree’.

Simplified terms and conditions would definitely be a great thing. But unfortunately these social media giants need these long winded lists to keep themselves safe from lawsuits and free from blame.

I’m fairly sure that they’ll be prioritising their company over keeping their users updated. 



Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and is currently interning as content writer hoping to go further. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

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Social Media Told To Simplify Terms And Conditions Reviewed by Tom Welby on Monday, December 01, 2014 Rating: 5
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