Honey, I Shrunk the Terms and Conditions

“What belongs to you stays yours.” Seems like common sense, huh? Well according to google and facebook’s terms and conditions, this is an important point that needs clarified. Lately, big online corporations such as facebook have been trying to make the move to “simplify” their privacy policies and Terms and Conditions to be more transparent, but this isn’t necessarily the fix that users wanted.

Before the shrinking of facebook’s Terms and Conditions, users could barely understand what data was being pulled from their facebook pages, much less what it was being used for. It was tough to get through the pages upon pages upon more pages of the privacy policy, and tougher yet to understand what the words actually meant for you. Facebook is a website built around user’s ability and willingness to voluntarily contribute their personal information, and once the site starts letting users in on how their information is being used, there are undoubtedly going to be protests. Organizations across the world banded together to object against facebook’s murky terms, and, according to PCWorld.com, claimed that this policy was “designed to confuse users and to frustrate attempts to limit the public disclosure of personal information that many Facebook users choose to share only with family and friends.” Overall, the feelings about facebook’s Terms and Conditions were not of a positive nature.

When human rights groups and individuals alike caused an uproar over the privacy issues that facebook’s terms brought about, the social media site decided to make a change. On September 23, 2011 and again on March 15, 2012, facebook released privacy policy revisions that were easier for the Average Joe to understand, and the policies themselves were considerably shorter. But with the new “Data Use Policy,” facebook did not really change the way they are using your data, just the language that describes how they are using it. This is not the solution that privacy groups aimed for; facebook shrunk the Terms and Conditions but forgot to protect our data better!

Facebook has taken the privacy out of its policy. In an attempt to clarify data usage for users, facebook has dwindled down the size of its’ Terms and Conditions but failed to appease the user’s right to privacy. According to an article in the Huffington Post, facebook prefers to be more straightforward with their new Data Use Policy, since the purpose of that document is not about protecting user privacy but instead about articulating how the company uses your data. Facebook has long been brought into the limelight about privacy concerns, and although they claim they are shrinking their policies to be more transparent to users, don’t let them fool you: the Terms and Conditions may be shrinking, but the threats to your privacy remain.

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