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Social media platforms need to make T’s & C’s clearer

Social networking firms have been told to buck up their ideas when it comes to letting people know what they are doing with collected data.

With many companies using social media to engage with their customers and the wider world, and many more entering the arena all the time, the control of personal data is a hot topic. This is something that  has been recognised by a report by the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee.

The Committee told firms like Twitter and Facebook to tidy up their terms and conditions, stating they are too complex and long.

Some experts in the legal field have agreed with this, saying that even they would struggle to understand them, and that they are clearly written for use in the courtroom.

The group of MPs has said that many websites commonly used by firms working with search engine optimisation (SEO) content providers are guilty of having verbose privacy policies. The Committee said that reading through them was akin to “engaging with Shakespeare”.

The group subsequently called on its fellow lawmakers to create standards that social platforms have to sign up to. It maintained it should set a mandate for clear, concise and simple terms.

Facebook has already updated its T’s and C’s, claiming that it is now easier to read. It released a statement, adding:

“[We have] listened to people who have asked us to better explain how we get and use information.”

Twitter took to its own blog to clarify how data is used by its apps, posting:

“[They work to] deliver tailored content that you might be interested in.”

The post went on explain how its users can turn off data collection, much of which is directed back to its corporate users on the platform.

The report goes on to state that by being clearer on data collection, it will help customers and advertisers in the long term.

Steven Morris

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