Yahoo pulls plug on ‘Do Not Track’ privacy setting

Yahoo has cut its ties with its ‘Do Not Track’ (DNT) settings meaning users can no longer specify in their browsers if they do not want to be tracked by advertisers.

In a blog post Yahoo said its reasons for doing so stem from ambitions to create a more personalised web experience for users, for which it needs to be able to track users' online behaviour, alongside a lack of industry standards for DNT methods.

“We work hard to provide our users with a highly personalised experience. We keep people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the world. We fundamentally believe the best web is a personalised one.

“As of today, web browser Do Not Track settings will no longer be enabled on Yahoo. As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we’ve been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard. However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry,” it said in a blog post.

The move means that advertisers can track users online behaviour on Yahoo for the purposes of retargeted advertising, regardless of whether they have opted not to be tracked in the privacy settings.

Some speculators have said the move could be geared towards Yahoo’s “shrinking” display business as an incentive for wanting to drop the DTN method.

Facebook does not support DTN, and although Google’s Chrome browser supports it has reportedly stated it also doesn't respond to DNT requests. Both companies have cited a lack of industry standards as well as consumer confusion about the implications of the DNT settings, as the reasons for ignoring the signals.

Microsoft launched DNT settings in 2012.