August 9, 2022
Oath email scanning

Yahoo and AOL are Actually Reading their Users’ Email to Target them with More Ads

Oath email scanning is an ongoing practice of the AOL and Yahoo parent company, reading users’ messages to better target them with ads…

Turns out, Yahoo and AOL email users are the only one reading their messages. Parent company Oath, a Verizon-owned subsidiary, analyzes over 200 million Yahoo and AOL inboxes to mine data to sell to advertisers. This, according to an investigative report conducted by The Wall Street Journal.

Yahoo, AOL Owner Oath, Scans Users Email to Deliver Targeted Ads

The practice is one familiar to the industry. Email client services routinely scan messages for a variety of reasons. For instance, Gmail scans email to identify content and context in order to deliver Smart Replies. (Automatically generated suggested responses to email messages.) Gmail also does the same for Smart Compose. (A similar feature which offers predictive typing when composing an email.)

However, this is different. Most major email providers have abandoned the practice of scanning messages due to privacy concerns and scandals. But, Oath, owner of AOL and Yahoo, continues to use the tactic.

Google ended the practice last year. Microsoft does not use this method, writing in a statement it does “not use email content for ad targeting in any way, anywhere in Microsoft.” And, Apple has never adopted the practice of scanning users’ email. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Yahoo mined users’ emails in part to discover products they bought through receipts from e-commerce companies such as In 2015, Amazon stopped including full itemized receipts in the emails it sends customers, partly because the company didn’t want Yahoo and others gathering that data for their own use.”

Furthermore, Yahoo’s own privacy policy even states certain employees may access user email through what it calls a “manual review.” However, email isn’t necessarily the most secure communications method. Although, users just might well be surprised to learn about the practice and its implications.

Owen E. Richason IV

Covers social media, apps, search, and similar news. History buff, movie, and theme park lover. Blessed dad and husband.     

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