You need a college degree to understand Facebook's terms of service - report

You have to be at least a junior in high school to understand the terms of service for all ten major social media platforms.

Roughly 4,6 billion people use at least one social media platform. Do they understand what they are signing up for?

To better understand social media terms of service, privacy firm All about Cookies looked into the terms of service of 10 social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, Discord, Twitch, WhatApp, and Instagram.

"Facebook has the most difficult terms of service to understand, requiring the reading comprehension level of a college graduate," the company's study reads.

On July 26, Facebook's updated terms of service came into effect, and the document is longer and more complicated than before. It's 900 words longer (5,007 words in total,) and you need a 16th-grade reading comprehension level to get through the document.

"It's important to keep in mind that the average American reads at a level between seventh and eighth grade, according to the Center for Plain Language. That means the average US social media user would have a very difficult time making sense of the terms of use for any of these sites," the study reads.

Three social media platforms – Snapchat, Reddit, and YouTube – have terms of service that can be understood by someone who does not read at a collegiate level.

Social media terms of service

Using the Hemingway Editor App to evaluate the documents for readability and length, All About Cookies concluded that they are 6,141 words long on average – enough to fill 13.5 single-spaced pages.

The study also picked out some complex sentences from the mentioned documents. Check if you can understand them:

Facebook: “Our Products, however, are provided "as is," and we make no guarantees that they always will be safe, secure, or error-free, or that they will function without disruptions, delays, or imperfections. To the extent permitted by law, we also DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT.”

Reddit: “Except to the extent prohibited by law, you agree to defend, indemnify, and hold Reddit, its affiliates, and their respective, directors, officers, employees, affiliates, agents, contractors, third-party service providers, and licensors (the “Reddit Entities”) harmless from and against any claim or demand made by any third party, and any related liability, damage, loss, and expense (including costs and attorneys’ fees) due to, arising out of, or in connection with: (a) your use of the Services, (b) your violation of these Terms, (c) your violation of applicable laws or regulations, or (d) Your Content. We reserve the right to control the defense of any matter for which you are required to indemnify us, and you agree to cooperate with our defense of these claims.”

Twitter: “By submitting, posting, or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods now known or later developed (for clarity, these rights include, for example, curating, transforming, and translating).”