Users of Reddit, a popular social network for news aggregation and conversation, are in a panic after a recent change in company policy tracks user activity on the site by default instead of requiring the user to opt in to the tracking.

The changes have been highlighted by users posting across a wide variety of communities that are hosted on the site as users are advising their fellow Redditors to go to their preferences in order to opt out of the tracking.

According to Reddit’s “personalization preferences,” which can be accessed and changed on an individual basis by every user on the site, Reddit by default tracks user activity on Reddit in order to show the user “more relevant advertisements.”

The preferences also, by default, allow Reddit to user information gathered from third-party websites that have integrated trackers and other services associated with Reddit to personalize a user’s experience on Reddit. In other words, it allows Reddit to track the user around the web and use that information to serve ads and other information.

An additional setting lets the user choose if they would like to allow Reddit to use that third-party information to serve personalized ads while browsing Reddit or surface potentially relevant content from the site. Again, both options are allowed by default, requiring the user to opt out.

Reddit also grants itself the ability to use data provided by third-parties (i.e., advertisers or data brokers that Reddit purchases data from) in order to display relevant advertisements while the user browses Reddit.

In a separate panel for user settings, Reddit users are opted in by default to a feature that allows Reddit to log “outbound clicks” for personalization. According to a changelog post from Reddit administrators, outbound clicks occur when a user clicks a link that directs them off of Reddit. Those clicks and where they take the user are tracked by default by Reddit.

How To Opt Out Of Reddit’s Tracking Practices

While tracking user behavior on site has its benefits for the site and for the user, some may want to avoid the practice in order to preserve their privacy. While all of the tracking options are turned on by default, users do have the ability to opt out.

To do so, first sign in to Reddit and visit the user preferences page, either by clicking the “preferences option” on the user panel on the right-hand side of the screen or by visiting .

Scroll down to the “privacy options” header and look for the “allow reddit to log my outbound clicks for personalization” option. Uncheck the box next to the option and click the “save options” button at the bottom of the page.

Then, while still on the preferences page, find the “personalization options” header and click the link that reads “set personalization preferences.” This will redirect the user to their personalization preferences page.

There are five options in these preferences, all of which are selected by default. The user can uncheck the box by each preference that they would like to opt out of. Click the “save options” button at the bottom of the page for the changes to take effect.