— Tim Peterson (@petersontee) July 20, 2016
But Hulu’s not the only major platform pushing aside these browser-based privacy preferences.
I contacted a who’s who of other ad-supported web platforms to see which of them honor Do Not Track requests and which, like Hulu, don’t. I’ve either heard back from or been able to find Do Not Track disclosures in the privacy policies for each one of them except Amazon, which I’ve emailed multiple times since Wednesday. You can check out the chart below to see where each company stands by clicking or tapping on its logo.
The most widely cited reason by companies that have chosen to ignore Do Not Track requests is that there’s no standard policy for how a site is supposed to respond to these requests. This is true(ish). There’s also no requirement for companies to honor Do Not Track requests or a penalty if they ignore those requests. And yet there are some companies that respond to these requests anyway: Medium, Pinterest, Reddit and Twitter. Yahoo does, too, but only on Firefox, and only because of its search deal with Firefox maker Mozilla.
Many of the aforementioned platforms that ignore Do Not Track requests let people opt out of tracking-based ads via settings in their user accounts. That’s cool because those settings typically bridge different devices as well as web and app environments. But it also means more work for anyone who doesn’t want a company peeking at what they’re doing when they’re not on that company’s site. Instead of setting one browser-wide opt-out, a person would have to opt out for each of these services and then go through both the Digital Advertising Alliance’s and Network Advertising Initiative’s opt-out tools. Or a person could throw up their hands and give in to being tracked by third parties. Or a person could install an ad blocker.