Reddit is simplifying its ad privacy options by removing the ability to ignore targeted ads based on user activity. Users will no longer be able to switch off the platform’s ability to target them with ads based on the communities they join, the posts they upvote or downvote, and their overall activity on the site. However, Reddit clarified that it does not send user activity information to third-party advertisers. The company believes that this change will not result in more ads or sharing on-platform activity with advertisers, but instead enable their models to better predict which ads may be most relevant to users.
In addition to removing the ability to ignore targeted ads, Reddit stated that it is making these changes to improve ad performance. The company aims to enhance ad click-through rates, which measures ad effectiveness based on the number of ad clicks divided by the number of times an ad is shown. Reddit also announced that it has doubled the number of “interests” available for targeted ads, suggesting that ads may become even more targeted based on user activity. However, it is unclear which countries will still maintain the ability to deselect ad targeting.
While Reddit introduced the ability to opt out of specific ad categories like alcohol, gambling, and weight loss, the platform emphasized that it may not be able to entirely stop these types of ads. Reddit’s goal is to show fewer of these types of ads to users by utilizing a combination of manual tagging and machine learning. Although this feature is not new, with Google also offering similar preferences for ad targeting categories, Reddit’s privacy changes could contribute to the growing sense that the platform views its users as a product to be easily exploited for monetization purposes.