Our latest article on consent fatigue with regards to privacy policies prompted for some kind of follow-up. The market research insights that we used in that article were pretty old (2008) and an update was needed. That’s the purpose of today’s article. We discovered that privacy policies have greatly increased in length over the past 10 years. Mobile applications’ policies are on average 58% longer than the ones studied in 2008 and require 6 hours 40 minutes of reading time.
Consent fatigue can’t improve under those conditions.
In our previous article we dealt with a 2008 study by McDonald and Cranor that screened 75 websites’ privacy policies and concluded that they were 2514 words on average. Extrapolating to 1462 websites visited each year, reading all those privacy policies would require some 30 working days.
The concept of consent fatigue pretty much emergend from that popular study.
How does it look like today
The world has changed a lot in the past 10 years. So have our online habits.
Mobile devices are dominating in terms of internet usage. In some countries it has reached almost 75% of usage (leaving only 25% for regular desktop access).
We still access websites (on our smartphones though) but mobile applications have become a preferred entrance to the online world for a large part. This led us to revamp a little bit the methodology used in 2008 and to focus on the most-used mobile apps rather than on websites.
The 20 most used mobile applications are our benchmark
- When a new policy was available (because of GDPR) we took this version
- We took only english versions into account
- We started to count the words at “introduction” and ended with the date of effect of the policy
The results in brief
This average was calculated taking every single policy into account although some of them (the longest actually) are shared among several of the most popular applications belonging either to Facebook or Google.
When redundant policies are excluded (for instance BitMoji’s because it’s the same as Snapchat, Facebook Messenger’s because it’s the same as Facebook or Google+ because it’s the same as Youtube) the average is back to 3710 words, up 47,5% from the 2008 results.
All 20 policies together are 79288 words in length. Excluding redundant policies leads to a total of 48218 words. This represents respectively 6 hours 40 minutes and 4 hours of reading time.
Reading time was estimated with Read-O-Meter (reading speed of 200 words per minute on average).
The results in details
Mobile applications. The 20 most used mobile applications :
- Whatsapp (6172 words) : link, archive
- Facebook (4524 words) : link, achive
- Facebook messenger (4524 words) : same as Facebook‘s
- Instagram (4510 words) : link, archive
- Snapchat (3906 words) : link, archive
- UC Browser (1981 words) : link, archive
- Uber (3521 words) : link, archive
- YouTube (4528 words) : link, archive
- SHAREit (1170 words) : link, archive
- Bitmoji (3906 words) : same as Snapchat‘s
- Google Search (4528 words): same as YouTube‘s
- Google Play (4528 words): same as YouTube‘s
- Google Maps (4528 words): same as YouTube‘s
- Gmail (4528 words): same as YouTube‘s
- iCloud (3237 words) : link, archive
- Amazon Mobile (2652 words) : link, archive
- Twitter (4980 words): link, archive
- Netflix app (3423 words): link, archive
- Google+ (4528 words): same as YouTube‘s
- Pinterest (3624 words): link, archive
Image : shutterstockTags: privacy, social medias