Have you ever taken the time to read the Terms of Service (ToS) before you hit ‘I agree’? Despite downloading and installing numerous apps on our phones, most of us don’t know the ToS that we are agreeing to when we start using them.
According to a survey conducted by Deloitte of 2,000 respondents, over 90% of people consent to legal terms and conditions without reading them. Many of these ToS documents are at least a few thousand words long and filled with complex jargon to actually read.
The fact of the matter is that most users don’t have much of a choice. If they do not agree with the terms they will not get access to the service or software that they want to use. Most are willing to accept the fact that the worst thing most companies do is sell their personal data to a third party that wants to advertise to them.
The folks at Visual Capitalist have put together an infographic (which you can check at the end of this article) that shows the length of some service agreements used by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Netflix and many more.
This visualisation is interesting as it not only counts the words used, but also how long it would take for a user to read each one. To measure how long it takes to read one of these long-winded agreements, Visual Capitalist’s analysis calculated the reading times based on the average reading time of most adults which is 240 words per minute (wpm). Hats off to the poor soul who actually took the time to wade through the sea of legal jargon of each app.
Interestingly, at the very top of the list is Microsoft, whose ToS measured a staggering 15,260 words long and takes over an hour to read (63.5 minutes to be exact). For context, you can finish William Shakespeare’s epic tragedy, Macbeth, which is 17,121 words, in roughly the same amount of time.
But to be fair, Microsoft’s terms of service agreement is very long because it covers the company’s entire suite of products.
This is followed by the popular music streaming app and viral video app, Spotify and TikTok which have ToS agreements that are 8,600 and 7,459 words long respectively. Fortunately, it takes about half the time to read through their ToS at just 35.8 minutes for Spotify and 31.4 minutes for TikTok.
Surprisingly, Instagram had the shortest ToS compared to others in the list with a word count of only 2,451 and it takes about 9.7 minutes to go through it. Interestingly, Netflix was the second shortest ToS with a word count of 2,628 and taking 11 minutes to read.
A report by the Guardian found that the average American would need to set aside almost 250 hours to properly read all the digital contracts they accept when using online services.
Click on the infographic below to get a better look at how long it takes to read other popular apps and services including Google, Twitter, Zoom, Tinder, Slack, Uber, Snapchat and Amazon.