Pinterest has decided to offer the “do not track” option to its users. The Do Not Track function allows users to state their preferences, and choose to not have their website browsing activity tracked or personal data collected. Specifically, the technology blocks cookies left on a user’s computer for advertising purposes.
However, utilization of the function requires cooperation between browser makers, website publishers and developers. Though major browser makers have acknowledged the Do Not Track option, very few websites support the option. Pinterest becomes the second social network, behind Twitter, to make the commitment.
Personalization vs. Privacy and the Pinterest Experience
This statement from Pinterest comes at a time when the social network is becoming increasingly personalized. The social media website resembles a personalized pin board, where users can pin photos, articles, recipes, and other interesting stuff. Personalization on Pinterest is in the process of being enhanced with new cookie tracking that will suggest other boards to users based on previous pins. So if you pin a lot of fruit smoothie recipes, you will be shown other boards that contain similar content.
By offering the Do Not Track option, Pinterest begins to collect more information and offers users the choice to decide between personalization and privacy—thus giving the end user considerable autonomy. Those who permit personalization will receive an enhanced Pinterest experience and be able to discover new content, boards, and pins that reflect their interests. Users that choose the Do Not Track option will continue with an unchanged Pinterest experience.
The current Pinterest includes basic discovery mechanisms and users have probably been looking forward to new enhanced search functions to help them navigate the site’s content. Now users will have to choose which, privacy or personalization is more important.