Posted on
December 1st, 2014

How Exactly Do Social Media Sites Use Our Data?

When it comes to using sites like Facebook and Twitter, do you know how they locate and use your data? It seems that the majority of users spend time on these platforms without actually knowing what information is being passed on, or how their privacy is dealt with.

A recent report by the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee stated that these site’s terms and conditions were too lengthy and complicated for users to understand. Instead of using straight forward terms, they use content which is similar to “engaging with Shakespeare.”

This report came after a number of complaints were filed against the sites, suggesting that they were misleading users and on several occasions, passing on personal information to third party sites.

It said that these social media sites use “opaque, literary styles”, which are not always understood by their users. They have also suggested that they “are drafted for use in American court rooms”, using formal and complex language to convey its terms and conditions, when it should have much more simplistic and accessible content.

In 2012, Facebook conducted a study on around 689,000 users, without asking their permission. It has been said that during this time the social media site manipulated and played with the emotions of its users.

The Chairman of the Commissions Committee, Andrew Miller, said that this study “highlighted 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 Committee want there to be an agreement for these companies to sign, which would mean that they would have to follow specific guidelines when producing their terms and conditions. This will hopefully make it easier for us to understand just what it is we are signing up to before we actually use the social media sites!

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