Your Privacy, Your Controls, Your Yahoo! Updates

Privacy seems to be on everyone’s mind right now. It’s been on our minds here at Yahoo! for the last 15 years, where our commitment to earning your trust is as embedded within Yahoo! culture as the color purple. We care a lot about making sure our privacy commitment is reflected in every product and feature we offer, not just through a written privacy policy. The Internet is changing each day, and as we create new products and make changes at Yahoo!, we want to share them so that you are able to make informed decisions about your privacy preferences. We are also committed to making these decisions simple, visible and easy for you to manage.

Yahoo! has always offered the best content on the Web and allowed people to publicly interact with it by sharing their own unique contributions and content. You can rate songs, review movies, Buzz articles, share photos on Flickr, post remarks on message boards, ask questions, and provide answers. Some of the best content on Yahoo! comes directly from you. We want to make it simpler and easier for you to find out about things that other members of Yahoo!’s vibrant global community are contributing on our network every day. We do this through a feature called Yahoo! Updates.

Yahoo! Updates is simply a stream of people’s activity, based largely on public content they’ve created on Yahoo!.  For some time now, we’ve been adding Yahoo! Updates into more of our products like Yahoo! Mail, Messenger and Profiles. This phased integration has been happening over the past year so we could understand what users like and don’t like and then integrate feedback. Our users are using Updates and we’re happy to report that we have had overwhelmingly positive feedback.

With each new roll-out, we have been evolving and improving the Updates feature. For example, in Yahoo! Messenger, people can see Updates from all their Messenger friends.  However, in Yahoo! Mail, people have only seen content from their Connections across Yahoo!. In the coming weeks, we’ll be expanding Yahoo! Updates in Yahoo! Mail to enable you to see public updates from some of your Messenger friends and Yahoo! Contacts in addition to your Connections. Before long, we’ll also allow you to start sharing your Updates with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks if you want – another great improvement and big step forward.

 

Before Yahoo! Updates is expanded to Yahoo! Mail where many more people will see their Contacts’ activity, we want you to explore your Updates settings and make sure you know who can see what you’re publishing. Even if you are among the many Yahoo! users who haven’t ever generated an update, we want to encourage everyone to actively manage these settings. Because the majority of events listed within Updates are inherently public activities, our defaults are set to allow anyone to see them (that is, for people over 18; we have different defaults that are age-appropriate for people under 18 – learn more in our FAQ). But you can easily limit who sees your Updates stream either by editing the controls for each specific activity (i.e. sharing photos on Flickr or commenting on Yahoo! News articles) or by turning your Updates stream off entirely in one simple step. We’ve made sure this control is easy to find by putting it at the top of the page and that there is a single on/off check-box, with more granular controls for people who want their settings somewhere in between.

 

We’ve also been placing reminders across our site in the places where you do or share something that will be visible through Yahoo! Updates. We provide links for you to manage who can see them right where you publish the content.

Our commitment at Yahoo! is always to give you great products, and we know that great products include a foundational commitment to your privacy.  We’ve created an FAQ page that answers not just what Yahoo! Updates is but also explains what it isn’t, and we welcome your continued feedback.

Anne Toth, Vice President, Global Policy & Head of Privacy
Cody Simms, Senior Director, Yahoo! Social Platforms and Yahoo! Developer Network (YDN)

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