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Reading time of terms of service compared to books (infographic)

Reading time TOS versus books Visual Capitalist

Reading Microsoft’s Terms of Service would take more time than Sun Tzu’s Art of War. What about Facebook, Netflix, or TikTok?

Terms of service is a wall of boring text in tiny, barely readable font you see when you sign up for a new service or app.

It’s the text you should read if you care about your privacy and customer rights but usually look for “Accept” button right away. You are going to use that service anyway, so why waste precious time, right? Especially that there are so many great books you don’t have time to read, either.

Visual Capitalist has recently published a post and infographic that take a look at terms of service of popular services and apps, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Zoom, TikTok, or Microsoft.

Nicholas LePan from Visual Capitalist has compared word count of current terms of use of these services with word count of famous books and other texts, such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the U.S. Constitution, or The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

If we applied an average reading speed to these texts (for the purpose of the infographic LePen assumed it’s 240 words per minute), we would see how much time we would need to reach the “Accept” button.

It turns out reading Twitter’s, Tinder’s, or Uber’s ToS takes more time than reading the U.S. Constitution. Reading each service’s terms takes between 20 and 25 minutes.

The absolute winner is Microsoft. The company’s terms and conditions are longer than The Art of War. Reading them would take you over an hour, compared to 50 minutes of Sun Tzu’s classic. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is only a few minutes longer, with a reading time of 1:11:18.

The shortest legal agreements are provided by Instagram (9:42), Netflix (11:00), and YouTube (13:42).

Click or tap the infographic to see it in full resolution.

Reading time terms of service versus books - full infographic

Via Visual Capitalist Blog.

Check out more infographics about books and reading:

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20 most commonly used languages of the web (infographic)
– April 16, 2021