Medium is built for privacy. One key to our approach is that Medium doesn’t make money from ads. So we don’t serve ads to you on Medium and we don’t send your data to third parties for the purpose of targeting ads to you. The tracking we do at Medium is to make our product work. Medium doesn’t track you across the Internet. We track only your interactions within the Medium network (Medium.com and custom domains hosted by Medium).
One concrete way we commit to user privacy is by honoring Do Not Track (“DNT”) browser settings. There’s no consensus on how best to do this. But, we have adopted an approach that we believe honors the fundamental pro-privacy aims of the DNT standard. To that end, we follow the recommendation made by the World Wide Web Consortium (“W3C”).
If you are browsing with DNT enabled, you can read Medium in the logged-out state and our analytics will not receive information about you. Also, embeds within a page (such as a YouTube video) will not load without your actively clicking through a DNT overlay. By doing this, we allow you to choose whether any data is sent to a third-party embed before it is sent. If you click into an embed while browsing DNT, it may cause data to be sent to the third-party hosting the embed. As allowed under the W3C’s specification, we do some first-party tracking in order to make Medium work. Specifically, this ensures you don’t see the same posts every time you look at medium.com, allows our paywall to function, and enables you to read a set number of members-only articles per month without a membership. Our first-party tracking allows these kinds of content customizations. We also send data to third-party service providers (as understood in W3C’s specification) — companies that provide services that make Medium work, like Amazon Web Services.
A few more details about cookies and the mechanics of DNT. Cookies are unique identifiers that an internet service attaches to your browser or mobile device in order to recognize you. If you enable DNT in your browser, it sends us a header when you fetch a webpage, requesting that we do not track your movements online through cookies or other means.
Regardless of whether you browse DNT or not, we do not track you across the Internet. And we don’t change or disable the DNT setting in your browser.
Our policy aims to honor DNT requests and help foster the privacy protective Internet the standard envisions, while also providing the personalized experience that is at the core of Medium’s vision. We’re proud to be an early adopter of DNT and will keep working on our implementation of it.