PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — There’s no denying terms of service agreements can be lengthy.
Whether you’re signing up for a new app, a new site, or updating your phone, you’re usually asked to read one and agree to it.
“Am I going to spend 15 minutes reading a service agreement?” Kelsey Willis said. “Probably not.”
That’s exactly why the FOX 12 Investigators decided to set up an experiment to find out if people would agree to our terms of service before giving us an interview.
“Oh, how much time do you have?” Willis said. “I want to read through this whole thing.”
The experiment involved the terms of service off FOX 12’s website, sprinkling in some new conditions. One line said you agree to dance 60 seconds on camera, another said you agree to let us post any photos from your phone on air and online.
After each person signed, without reading, FOX 12 then told them the story was about terms of service agreements and pointed out what they agreed to.
“You agree to sing Happy Birthday on camera,” read Kelley.
Not everyone wanted to hold up their end of the agreement, especially ones like sharing their bank username or password, or allowing FOX 12 to set up a dating profile under their name.
“Okay, I’m going to pass on that,” Susan Sykes said.
When FOX 12 asked why people don’t usually read what they’re agreeing to, they gave different reasons.
“It’s not in any terms they can understand anyways,” Nathan Shade said. “And we’ve gotten in these habits of just sliding right through them.”
“Regardless of whether I like it or not, I have to press yes or no and, well, I want it, so yes,” said one man FOX 12 interviewed.
“They are crazy long,” said Willis. “Who has time to sit down and read that whole thing?”
The website Terms of Service; Didn’t Read claims it helps people understand what they’re agreeing to. It shows popular sites and apps and highlights the most important parts, like letting people know how some sites may share their location data, read their private messages and track them on other websites.
“I think just to have a place to go where these things are more or less more broken down in a way that is more digestible on a sight see basis is very useful to people,” said Madeline O’Leary with Terms of Service; Didn’t Read.
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