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 a series of updates to Reddit’s privacy, advertising, and location settings. The company’s head of privacy, Jutta Williams, stated that the change is necessary for Reddit to better predict which ads may be most relevant to individual users. Williams assured users that the majority of them will not see any change in the number of ads they see, and those who had previously opted out of ad personalization will not have their on-platform activity shared with advertisers. The updates to advertising settings will be rolled out gradually over the next few weeks.
While some Redditors are upset about the change, Williams clarified that it does not alter the way Reddit collects or shares data. Instead, it simply affects how ads are targeted on the platform. The company does not share users’ information or activity with third parties for advertising purposes outside of Reddit. However, exceptions have been made for “select countries,” although the specific regions have not been specified. European countries may be exempt from the forced opt-in as it could potentially violate the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, which require explicit consent for the collection and processing of personal data for advertising. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, recently implemented similar exceptions for European users to ensure compliance with EU privacy laws.
In addition to the opt-in change, Reddit is also introducing 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 to improve over time.