Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Our Recent Changes
What are the privacy updates users should be aware of? What are the privacy updates users should be aware of?
Does AOL share my personal information? Does AOL share my personal information?
- AOL may share your personal information in limited circumstances, including when we have your consent to do so or when sharing is necessary to protect AOL or comply with the law. Our agents and contractors may have access to your information, but only to perform services for AOL. We do not sell or rent your personal information to third parties.
How do you use information to target ads and content? How do you use information to target ads and content?
- AOL uses information to operate and improve our services, fulfill your requests, and communicate with you, conduct research, and personalize content and ads provided to you. Often, an ad you see online is customized based on the content of the site. For example, you may see sports-related ads on a sports site. We may also select an ad based on our knowledge of the audience we think may be looking at that page. This is often done with publicly available and/or aggregated demographic information, or it may be done with analysis of the aggregated traffic on a particular website, or by using the registration data or other household data you have provided or that we have acquired from other companies.
What is behavioral advertising and its impact on my privacy? What is behavioral advertising and its impact on my privacy?
- In addition to customizing advertisements for you based on the subject matter of the page you are visiting, demographic data, or information you have already provided to AOL, some ads may be targeted based on your activity on sites in the AOL Advertising Network. When you visit these sites, you may receive a "cookie" that helps us note, in an anonymized way, that your browser visited that site. AOL Advertising may use information about your activity on the AOL Advertising Network to display ads that are more relevant. Note that the information shared with the advertising network is always with a unique identifier, not personally identifiable information, such as your name or email address. You can opt out of targeted ads. Please note that you will still receive ads; however, they will no longer be tailored based on your activities.
What choices does AOL offer to control my information? What choices does AOL offer to control my information?
- AOL provides you with access to your registration information, any billing or shipping information, the ability to edit your information at My Account, as well as the ability to cancel AOL fee-based services. Visit AOL Marketing Preferences to make choices about how your information may be used to provide marketing offers to you. Please note that these preferences do not apply to communications that are directly related to your registration with AOL or the fulfillment of a specific transaction you have requested (for example, a service advisory from AOL or an acknowledgment of a purchase). Visit AOL Advertising and Privacy to learn more about online advertising and your related choices. Some AOL services (AOL Search, for example) may offer you the ability to control what information is collected or used specific to these services.
How do the AOL brands respond to "Do Not Track" browser signals? How do the AOL brands respond to "Do Not Track" browser signals?
- Some web browsers may transmit "Do Not Track" signals to the websites and other online services with which the browser communicates. Currently, there is no standard that governs what, if anything, websites should do when they receive these signals and AOL currently does not take action in response to these signals.
- Previously, Gravity provided users with the ability to use the browser "Do Not Track" signal to opt out of certain personalization. AOL has consolidated and simplified many of the preferences and opt-outs we offer, and as a result, "Do Not Track" browser signals will no longer be recognized. You can still opt-out of Gravity personalization using the cookie-based opt-out available on the Gravity website and this opt-out is also now part of the AOL Advertising opt-out available on various industry opt-out pages, such as The Network Advertising Initiative and The Digital Advertising Alliance. Effective September 15, 2014, Gravity will only disable personalization in response to these opt-out cookies. If and when a standard for responding to browser "Do Not Track" signals is established, we may revisit our policy on responding to these signals.
Does AOL read my private communications? Does AOL read my private communications?
- AOL may use information about your use of certain communication tools (for example, AOL e-mail or AOL Instant Messenger); however, AOL does not read your private online communications when you use these communication tools without your consent.
Who can I contact with questions about my privacy? Who can I contact with questions about my privacy?
- If you have any questions, please email us. For immediate assistance with AOL products and services or your AOL account, please visit AOL Help, where you can find answers to many common questions. Here, you can find assistance with error messages, connection problems, billing, or using AOL products and services. Users on qualified plans can chat live with a Member Services consultant by clicking the "Contact AOL" link at the bottom of the page.