Do you know what you’re agreeing to?

Hello & welcome to my blog!

We all know the drill. You sign up for a new account, provide your information, and check “I accept the terms and conditions” — without more than a second glance. But do you really know what those conditions are that you’ve just agreed to follow? Most of us don’t.

For this week’s blog, I read through the Terms of Service for Twitter (my favorite social media platform, as discussed in last week’s blog). Here are some of the key take-aways from my reading:

1: The language is difficult

I understand why many people choose not to read through these types of agreements! The language is difficult, with a lot of jargon and awkward phrasing that only makes sense if you understand legal writing, and I had to follow links to several additional documents to see the full picture. Nonetheless, it is important to trudge through the red tape to understand what rights and responsibilities you have after signing the agreement.

2: Twitter owns your posts

Section 3 of the Terms of Service clearly says that whatever you post or share, Twitter has the right to “use, copy, reproduce”, etc. This includes more than just the 140 characters of your tweet, however; it also allows them to collect and share some information about how you posted it (web, mobile, etc.), what time of day and location, and more.

3: Don’t share anything you might regret

The old saying holds true: if you won’t want your future employer (or your grandma) to see something, don’t share it. Twitter has very detailed rules about the type of content that will not be allowed on the platform, including abuse or violent threats, another person’s private information, and spamming content.

4: Private does not always mean private

Everything you share — and I mean everything — is collected by Twitter’s database. This includes posts that you might delete later, in addition to private messages in the form of Direct Messages.

This information, in addition to your tweets and location services, can be used when Twitter is determining ad placements. They go into full details about privacy and information collection in their Privacy Policy, here.

All in all, I think I learned a lot from reading through these documents! I would recommend that before you agree to any “terms and conditions”, glance through the agreement and see what it actually says.

If you want to read more on your own, select a platform and read their terms of service: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr.

~ Danielle