Pinterest Now Tracks You Automatically, Lets You Opt OutBy: Josh Wolford - July 28, 2013
In an effort to make you “feel like Pinterest is really yours,” the social network is beginning to implement a new personalization feature that tracks your movements across the web and recommends certain pins based on the websites you visit.
“If you’re interested, we’ll…suggest personalized pins and boards based on websites you go to that have the Pin It button. So if you’re planning a party and have gone to lots of party sites recently, we’ll try to suggest boards to make your event a hit,” says Pinterest engineer Ke Chen.
What Pinterest is doing isn’t something new – it’s done all over the web by plenty of sites. Using cookies, Pinterest is tracking which websites you visit (that have a “Pin It” button, that’s how they snatch the data) in order to personalize your experience.
Some users won’t have any problem with this, but you can bet that a large percentage will. Pinterest knows this, and have preempted the privacy backlash by allowing users to easily opt-out of the cookie tracking.
“We’re excited to give everyone a more personalized experience, but we also understand if you’re not interested! We support Do Not Track, and you can change your account settings anytime,” says Chen.
Here’s what it will look like in your account settings. Just click the tab over to “no” and Pinterest will not personalize your experience by using cookies to track your website visits.
I predict this is still going to piss off some users, simply because the new feature is opt-out instead of opt-in. That means that users who don’t really keep track of tech news may not hear about this update, and will be tracked without their knowledge by Pinterest.
“This is fairly similar to Twitter’s tailored suggestions news from May 2012. It’s a bit different in that we think the websites you visit are a good indicator of your interests (and Pinterest is all about your interests). So as people visit sites with the Pin It button (or other Pinterest widgets), we can use that information (if they’re interested) to recommend better boards to follow,” says Pinterest’s Malorie Lucich.
Pinterest is also rolling out the ability to users to edit their home feeds on both web and mobile. These changes should roll out fully over the next couple of weeks.