Social media rights, explained to the boys


A set of jargon-busting guides that teach children about their rights on social media sites has been published.

Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield, said Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and YouTube had “not done enough” to clarify their policies.

She simplified the site’s terms and conditions privacy legal firm Schillings.

But Instagram said that the simplified version of the terms contained “a number of inaccuracies”.

The lighter the guides are a response to the Commissioner Digital Growth report, which found that the majority of children do not understand the agreements they sign for the creation of social media accounts.

All the sites that require children to be 13 years old or older to create an account.

“The children have absolutely no idea that they are giving away the right to privacy or ownership of their own data or material to publish online,” said Ms Longfield.

She is urging the UK government to adopt the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which requires all companies that offer digital services used by children in the EU to simplify their terms and conditions, by May 2018.

She said that more needs to be done by all the social media giants to “be made more accountable and transparent”. ‘Inaccuracies’

However, Instagram said that there were inaccuracies in the simplified version of its policies.

In a statement, said: “it is wrong to think that share young people’s personal information, contact information, or the content of the messages direct with advertisers without their permission. Nor can we share the details of who people are messaging”.


The commissioner had criticised Instagram for his 17-page, 5,000-word terms and conditions.

But Robert Lands, from the law firm Howard Kennedy, said shortening of the terms and conditions can often create confusion rather than clarity.

“There are a number of reasons that the terms and conditions are very long,” he told the BBC.

“It is not to confuse people, it is the opposite. When you need to explain difficult concepts, sometimes you need words to do so.”

A Facebook spokesman said the company wanted everyone to feel “safe” for the use of the platform.

“Our resources – like our parents portal, privacy basics tool security and centre – are easy to understand and used every day by young people and parents looking for clear and simple advice,” he said.

Snapchat has said its terms and conditions and privacy policy were “clear and free from unnecessary legalese as possible.”

WhatsApp could not be reached for a comment. YouTube has not yet responded.