Policy Complexity

Policy complexity for a variety of digital services was measured by first collecting the complete terms of service (TOS) and the complete privacy policy (PP) for each organization. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level assessment was conducted on all documents to determine complexity. Grade levels are associated with the level education needed to understand the text. Grades 10, 11 or 12 suggest a high school education, whereas grades 13 and higher suggest the need for post-graduate education.

A complicated policy may be challenging for users to read and understand because of the words used as well as the presentation of ideas. Presentation of ideas is especially challenging because this involves understanding both terminology as well as context. Policy complexity contributes to the biggest lie because people will agree without understanding, or not even engage with materials because they assume the materials are too complicated and thus attempting to engage would be a waste of time.

A policy in plain language may be easier to understand, but may limit the ability for individuals to fully understand the legal and technical details as well as relevant implications. Agreeing to plain language policies may also contribute to the biggest lie because plain language policies might leave out important details.