Reddit has announced that it will no longer allow some users to opt out of ad personalization based on their activity on the platform. The change is part of several updates to Reddit’s privacy, advertising, and location settings. According to Jutta Williams, Reddit’s head of privacy, the company believes it requires minimal personal information from its users and that personalized ads will help predict which ads are most relevant to each user. Williams assures users that the majority will not see any changes to their ads, and those who previously opted out of ad personalization will not see an increase in ads or have their on-platform activity shared with advertisers. The updates to advertising settings will be rolled out over the next few weeks.
The decision has sparked some backlash, with users expressing their dissatisfaction with the change. In response, Williams clarified that the update does not alter the way Reddit collects or shares data. The data is solely used to target ads on the platform and is not shared with third parties for advertising purposes outside of Reddit. However, exceptions have been made for select countries, although the specific regions have not been disclosed. European countries may be exempt from the forced opt-in due to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, which require companies to obtain explicit permission to collect and process personal data for advertising purposes. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, recently made similar exceptions for European users to comply with EU privacy laws.
In addition to the changes in ad personalization, Reddit will also introduce the option for users to see fewer ads from specific categories such as gambling, alcohol, weight loss, and dating. Although the company acknowledges that its manual tagging and machine learning process for classifying ads may not be perfect initially, it expects it to improve over time.