Yahoo Reverses Position On ‘Do Not Track’

Microsoft. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo

Yahoo will no longer honour browsers’ Do Not Track requests, saying an effective standard has not emerged

Yahoo will no longer honour browsers’ “Do Not Track” requests, the company has announced.

“As of today, web browser Do Not Track settings will no longer be enabled on Yahoo,” the company said in a statement.

Fotolia: Technology Security © freshidea #39053413

‘No effective standard’

The decision was attributed to the lack of a coherent standard, Yahoo said. “We have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry,” the company stated. “Users can still manage their privacy on Yahoo while benefiting from a personalised web experience.”

Yahoo was the first and largest web company to say it would comply with the Do Not Track setting, which has been integrated into mainstream browsers and which Microsoft even enables by default in version 10 of its Internet Explorer. Pinterest and Twitter are among the other companies that have said they will comply with such requests.

The standard has been contentious, particularly with the advertising industry, which has argued it does not accurately reflect users’ preferences, particularly in the case of IE 10, which enables the feature by default. Yahoo previously said it would not accept Do Not Track requests from IE10.

Last September the Digital Advertising Alliance an advertising industry group withdrew from the World Wide Web Consortium’s tracking protection working group, saying it was “dissatisfied” with the Do Not Track standard’s progress.


Yahoo operates one of the largest ad networks on the Web, and its Do Not Track decision affects this network, as well as sites such as Flickr and Tumblr.

The company has recently placed an emphasis on personalisation as it seeks to bolster its competitiveness against rivals such as Microsoft and Google. Yahoo says it collects data on users’ web searches and demographic and location information in order to personalise advertisements. Users can opt out of such tracking.

Mozilla said last June that 11 percent of the users of its Firefox browser had enabled Do Not Track, up from 1 percent two years earlier.

Are you a security pro? Try our quiz!