The terms of service is probably one of the least-read parts of any website. Users routinely skip over it while registering, or when prompted to read it again later. But just how many are skipping this important document entirely and relinquishing control of their content in the process?
Using data from a study of 30 social and fan sites, the GVU Center at Georgia Tech found that ToS are unreasonably long and complicated. Facebook’s ToS has 4,477 words, Flickr’s has 5,763 and LinkedIn’s has a massive 7,294. The leader by far though is fan-fiction/fan-art website Archive Of Our Own, which asks that you read nearly 10,000 words before you can access their archive of a million-plus works.
The content you load to these sites ceases to be yours in a lot of ways. Twenty-two of the 30 sites ask for the right to reproduce, distribute and modify your content. Twenty-one ask to display, 15 reserve the right to perform the works, five ask for permission to store your works on their servers and four use user-generated content to advertise the site.
To see what rights you’re granting Pinterest, or what sort of license you grant for your tweets, see the infographic below: [Click to enlarge]