Reddit to honor 'Do Not Track' requests from visitors to its website

Reddit has also made changes to its privacy policy which come into effect in January

Reddit's logo
Reddit's logo Credit: Reddit

Reddit has decided to honor 'Do Not Track,' a feature that will ensure that it does not download third-party analytics on to browsers that enable the option.

The DNT option allows users to ask their browser to send websites they access a request or signal to opt-out, for example, from third-party tracking for purposes such as behavioral advertising. But as Reddit points out, websites can interpret the signal however they want and most ignore it.

The Federal Communications Commission ruled this month that it won't force Internet edge providers like Google and Facebook to honor DNT signals from users' browsers, as it did not want to regulate edge providers. Many consumers are concerned about the online tracking and data collection practices of the edge providers, advocacy group Consumer Watchdog had petitioned in June.

Reddit's announcement of the roll out of "DNT" comes together with changes in the company's privacy policy. The new policy is functionally very similar to the earlier one, but the company aims it to be shorter, simpler, and less repetitive. "We have clarified what information we collect automatically (basically anything your browser sends us) and what we share with advertisers (nothing specific to your Reddit account)," wrote Steve Huffman, Reddit's co-founder and CEO in a post.

Huffman took over from interim CEO Ellen Pao after she quit in July following controversies, including the exit of a key staffer.

A key privacy policy change is that the company will now store IP addresses for 100 days rather than the earlier 90 to measure usage across an entire quarter. Huffman said that apart from internal analytics, the online discussion website stores the IP addresses to fight spam and abuse.

"I believe in the future we will be able to accomplish this without storing IPs at all (e.g. with hashing), but we still need to work out the details," he added. The privacy changes will come into effect from Jan. 1.