Reddit is removing the ability for some users to opt out of ad personalization based on their activity on the platform. Announced on Wednesday alongside several incoming updates to its privacy, advertising, and location settings, Reddit’s head of privacy, Jutta Williams, justified the change by saying that Reddit “requires very little personal information” from its users and that it would allow the company to “better predict which ad may be most relevant to you.”
Williams contends that the vast majority of Reddit users “will see no change to their ads,” and users who had previously opted out of ad personalization “will not result in seeing more ads or sharing on-platform activity with advertisers.” The updates to the platform’s advertising settings will roll out over the next few weeks.
Responding in comments to Redditors who are upset by the change, Williams added this:
Exceptions have been made for “select countries,” though the exact regions have not been specified. European countries might be exempt from the forced opt in as the change would likely bring Reddit into direct conflict with the EU’s GDPR rules, which require companies to get express permission to collect or process personal data for use in activities like advertising. Meta recently carved out similar exceptions for European Facebook and Instagram users earlier this year to bring it into compliance with EU privacy laws. We have reached out to Reddit for clarification on which countries will be excluded and will update this story if we hear back.
The Reddit changes will also add the ability for users to see fewer ads from specific categories like gambling, alcohol, weight loss, and dating. The company says that its process of combining manual tagging with machine learning to classify the ads isn’t likely to be 100 percent successful at first but expects it to improve over time.