The Science and Technology Committee has deemed terms and conditions on social media sites as often “totally impenetrable” and “more complex than Shakespeare,” Brand Republic reports. The committee has called on the Government to work alongside the Information Commissioner to come up with a set of information standards that websites and apps could sign up to.
The group of MPs believes that social sites often exploit consumer ignorance, citing Facebook’s research experiment which manipulated users’ emotions as an example. Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Andrew Miller MP, claims that this experiment brought to light the concerns of ticking the terms and conditions box.
The reason consumers are unaware of how their data will be used, the committee argues, is down to the lengthy and complex terms and conditions. The committee is calling for social channels to explain their usage of personal data in “clear, concise and simple terms.”
The report also highlighted that the Government needs to set the standard, and uses the example of the NHS’s Care.data description of services, which it believes is “less than adequate.”
Miller states that most people click ‘yes’ to terms and conditions without reading them. The reason for this is because they are often “laughably long” and written using legal jargon that is hard for the average person to comprehend.
Socially responsible companies would not seek out to “bamboozle” their customers, Miller adds, so there is no reason why social media developers would not want to sign up to the requested “clear communication and informed consent” proposals.