Reddit, the popular online discussion and news aggregation site, has announced that it’s removing the ability for some users to opt-out of ad personalisation.
Reddit's head of privacy, Jutta Williams, explained the change—which was announced on Wednesday
along with a number of upcoming updates to its privacy, advertising, and location settings—stating that the site "requires very little personal information" from its users and that doing so will help it "better predict which ad may be most relevant to you."
Williams also shared that most Reddit users "will see no change to their ads," and that users who had previously opted out of personalised ads "will not result in seeing more ads or sharing on-platform activity with advertisers."
Over the coming weeks, the platform's advertising settings will gradually be updated. Williams added this in response to Redditors who were angry about the change in comments:
Select countries will still be able to opt-out of ad personalisation, however, the list of countries that will be exempt from the change have not been disclosed.
European nations might be spared from the mandatory opt-in as the modification would likely put Reddit directly in violation of GDPR regulations in the EU, which demand that companies obtain explicit consent before collecting or processing personal data for purposes like advertising. In order to comply with EU privacy legislation, Meta recently made comparable provisions
for European Facebook and Instagram users earlier this year.
Reddit also announced in its update that users will be able to opt-out of specific ad categories. By updating their privacy setting, users will be able to select to see fewer ads from specific categories— alcohol, dating, gambling, pregnancy, parenting, and weight loss. But Reddit has stressed that this will mean “fewer” ads in those categories, but not a complete removal.
Reddit claims it is still “utilising a combination of manual tagging and machine learning to classify the ads, which won’t be 100% successful to start." But the site expects accuracy to improve over time.
Back in June, Reddit found itself at a crossroads with regards to its ad revenue
. Media buyers kept spend reduced as the site battled protests after announcing it would start charging developers for access to its previously free API
. The change—which took effect July 1—charges developers 24 cents per 1,000 API requests. The changes prompted thousands of Reddit's communities into a co-ordinated protest, which saw more than 7,000 subreddits go private for two days.
Some media outlets have claimed that Reddit is looking for ways to increase its earnings. According to reports
the company, which filed for an IPO under seal in December 2021, intends to debut as a publicly traded company later this year when market conditions improve.