Do you know what you are signing up for?

There’s nothing worse than when you have to read the Terms and conditions before ticking the box to say that you agree to them when signing up for things! Well atleast now I know that Facebook has the power to manipulate what is on my news feed, that Instagram owns my images and Twitter can take and use any of my posts for whatever they like. The big majority of people reading this would think, oh is that what the little hyperlinked ‘terms and conditions’ button tells you, I just tick the box and press submit. You are doing the right thing though, well that’s what Facebook and other social media sites want you to do because why would they want you to know all of the things they can legally do by you ticking that box.

So my research question is ‘How many people know what is contained in the terms and conditions of social media sites that they are signed up for?’ Just by asking around, I can answer this with ‘very little’, but I want to prove it and have data show this!

Just type into google ‘Facebook terms and conditions’ and thousands of articles will all explain on simple term that social media sites terms and conditions are not what users think they are. The one that stood out was from BBC news by Rory Cellan-Jones as it talked about how social media sites have tried to ‘fix’ this issue. It explains how Facebook revealed its new terms and conditions because they have “listened to people who have asked us to better explain how we get and use information” and by that have made it ‘easier’ to understand. On the other side of this Twitter has just explained how and what they do with the content posted on its site, rather than changing it’s T & C’s.

So to be specific, I will be surveying and doing background research into how many people have knowledge of what is contained in Facebook and Instgram’s terms and conditions and what it means to users. I will then reveal key points in Facebook and Instagram’s T & C’s to those being surveyed record their reactions and ask them follow up questions. I will then compare the answers from before and after the participants read the T & C’s and make conclusions from this data. By doing background research I mean doing more searching through webpages to find different views on the topic and similar research that has been previously done, and unfortunately reading through the whole terms and conditions from Facebook and Instagram so that I have a complete understanding of what is in them and what they legally can do when users tick the box to say that they agree.

Do you think that its unfair and crazy that social media platforms do what they do with the information and pictures being posted on them and how they are using their power to do ‘unethical’ things? Most people would agree with this but majority of us can say that we have agreed to it, so who are the crazy ones?

terms-and-conditions-facebook-655x300.jpgPhoto credit to Andrew Couts from Digital trends

Cellan-Jones R., 2014,  Social media told to simplify terms and conditions, BBC, viewed 23rd March 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30234789


2 thoughts on “Do you know what you are signing up for?

  1. Hi Tahlia,
    I’m really intrigued by this topic, especially because I am an avid social media user and have never actually read the T&C’s on the sites I’m using. I like that you’re going to follow up with the respondents after sharing some of the points of the T&C’s to see how they feel about them. It will be interesting to see if it changes the way that they use social media or their opinions towards it. I think it will be important for you to find out how much the respondents use social media before interviewing them. It will be good to have a spectrum of people who post absolutely every part of their lives on social media and those who post once in a while, and compare their responses.
    Good luck with your research, I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together!


  2. Great idea! It really is crazy to think how much is embedded into the lengthy and convoluted terms and conditions we so often ignore. Although really, would we read the terms and conditions even if they were made more accessible? It would be interesting to explore/ ask whether people would reconsider using Facebook or Instagram after becoming aware of the control that these sites have of the content that we share.


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