Social networking companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, should make their terms and conditions simpler for users to understand, a new report from the UK parliament’s Commons Science and Technology Select Committee reveals.
According to the MPs, the social media giants’ conditions on the use of their services are way too long and difficult to comprehend. This simply means many users are not fully aware or cannot understand how their personal data is being used in apps and other websites. As a result, MPs want to see new guidelines or changes in the complicated terms and conditions.
Though terms of service are usually too long and boring for many to read, it’s important that everyone understands what is in them. The British parliament is ordering each company to explain clearly how they use all the private information of users. It is one step ahead of an initiative to help people understand better before agreeing on something.
If there is a company that won’t comply, MPs claim there will be laws needed to implement.
The Reality Bites
The move comes after Facebook’s emotion-manipulation study, in which the company used its users as an experiment.
Andrew Miller MP, chair of the Science and Technology Committee says, “[The move] 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.”
As some people tend to just click on “Yes” or “I agree” without reading the guidelines, the committee needs the help of governments to set standards where companies can sign up to.