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Reddit Confirms It Now Tracks All External Links You Access, But You Can Opt Out

Reddit has completed its rollout of outbound clicks, meaning that it now tracks the external links users access. Those who don’t want to be tracked can opt out.

The company started tracking users’ clicks on external links back in March, trying to get a better idea on what its users click on. Reddit has now completed the rollout to everyone, so it now records outbound clicks from all users.

“Just a small heads up on our previous outbound click events work: that should now all be rolled out and running, as we’ve finished our rampup,” a Reddit admin announced.

While you can typically enjoy some anonymity on Reddit, meaning that you don’t need to use your real name, email address or submit other details to get an account, this tracking may unsettle some users.

For those who don’t want their outbound links to be tracked, Reddit offers the option to opt out. To do so, simply head to Preferences > Privacy options and uncheck the box that says “allow reddit to log my outbound links for personalization.”

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Some users, however, are not very fond of Reddit’s new approach, nor how the company chose to announce it. As one redditor who goes by the username “cartel” points out, first of all Reddit should have posted this news in the subreddit r/announcements. Instead, Reddit made the announcement under the r/changelog subreddit, which doesn’t have as many subscribers. Had the news not gained traction through r/technology, it would’ve gone unnoticed for many users.
Moreover, it would have been nice for users who already have the “Do Not Track” option active in their browsers to be able to skip this Reddit tracking without having to go through additional settings to opt out.

Nevertheless, Reddit is tracking all outbound clicks unless you specifically opt out. As the company previously explained, it started recording what external links users access so it could get a better grasp on how long it takes users to vote on a post after clicking on the associated external link. At the same time, this practice would also enable Reddit to see when posts receive votes without being read, which in this case means without visiting the external link. Reddit further noted that tracking outbound links would help it assess the impact spam links have on its users.

While the outbound clicks rollout is now complete, Reddit notes that some issues might have slipped through the cracks. More specifically, when you click on a URL it may not go where you’d expect, instead taking you to the comment page. If this happens, Reddit would like to know so it can tweak it.

Lastly, Reddit’s privacy policy prevents it from sharing this database that associates users with external links they access, which means that no third party should get this data. On the other hand, having a database of collected information always entails a risk of having it hacked and dumped online.

 

techtimes.com

8 July 2016

 

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