FAQ for Communications Products & Analysis of Photos, Attachments & Other Content

  1. What are “relevant ads” as they relate to Oath Services?

    We believe that our ads can be part of an exciting, immersive experience, and we empower you to shape the ads you see to be as relevant as possible. To make our ads more relevant and useful for you, we make educated guesses about your interests based on your activity on Oath’s brands, websites, apps, products, services or technologies (we’ll collectively refer to these as “Services”), as well as provide ads that are contextually relevant to the page with which they are served. Oath’s automated systems may analyze all content (such as Mail and Messenger content including instant messages and SMS messages) to detect, among other things, certain words and phrases (we call them "keywords") within these communications. This analysis may occur on all content as it is sent, received, and when it is stored, including communications content from Services synced with your account. This might result in ads being shown to you in Mail Services that are related to those keywords. In addition, these keywords may contribute to the interest categories we assign to you, your browser, or your device for interest-based ads that we show.

  2. How does analysis work?

    Our automated systems may analyze all communications content (such as Mail and Messenger content including instant messages and SMS messages) and all photos and other content uploaded to your account to:

    • Provide, maintain and improve product features, content and Services

    • Fulfill your requests and when authorized by you;

    • Improve our Services;

    • To match and serve targeted advertising (across devices and both on and off of our Services) and provide relevant advertising based on your device activity, inferred interests and location data. To learn more, you can visit the control tool for interest-based advertising;

    • Conduct research and support innovation;

    • Provide reporting to internal and external parties including, partners, third-parties and the public, including, without limitation, anonymous or pseudonymized reporting on trends and popular content (such as popular new stories within AOL or Yahoo Mail) and analytics regarding the use of our Services and ads;

    • Provide location-based Services, advertising, search results, and other content that are the most relevant to you based on your location; and

    • To better enable our security systems to detect and defend against fraudulent or abusive activity.

    • This analysis may occur on all content as it is sent, received, and when it is stored, including communications content from Services synced with your account.  For example, after automatically removing any information that on its own could reasonably identify the recipient, we may manually review certain commercial communications to develop tools to assist the automated scanning process, improve segmentation and other automated functions and create generic templates of such documents (e.g., using common language to identify the elements of an airline receipt).  Oath employees may review the templates to improve our services and our personalization of your experience.

    • The automated analysis and storage of all content can include information within or about the content you provide, such as photos, attachments and other communications. We may collect information about the photos and videos uploaded, including EXIF data. Exchangeable Image File Format (“EXIF”) data is a record of the settings and other relevant metadata inserted by a camera or device when you take a photo or video, such as camera or device type, aperture, shutter speed, focal length, and location, among other information.

    • Unless you turn off EXIF data on your camera or device or remove it from the picture before uploading, attaching or sharing, we may receive and store EXIF data, Some cameras or devices can store GPS (location) coordinates in a photo's EXIF header.

    • We also may use image recognition algorithms for the purposes bulleted above. For example, the algorithms might identify and tag scenes, color, best crop coordinates, text, actions, objects, or public figures.

  3. How Does Oath Treat Information From Financial Institutions?

    Oath aims to offer products and services of interest to our users and to that end Oath may analyze user content around certain interactions with financial institutions. This enables Oath to build features which facilitate interactions with such institutions as well as offer more relevant ads when users are served ads by the Oath network. Oath leverages information financial institutions are allowed to send over email (which are governed by regulations on what financial institutions may send over email to ensure user privacy). Regulated financial institutions are required to send sensitive information via other means, such as brokerage statements.

  4. How are the features in Yahoo Mail related to Yahoo Messenger?

    We know in your connected life you frequently cross devices as well as communication mediums. With that in mind, Yahoo Mail and the new Yahoo Messenger version 11 (to find your version, go to Help -> About) work together better than ever. Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger share a common search platform. This means you may now archive instant messages along with your mail messages on Oath servers and search them together (including Voice Mail, SMS, and more) from a wide variety of devices and computing systems.

  5. Does Mail automatically share my messages with anyone else?

    Your messages are shared only with the people you want. We may anonymously or pseudonymously share specific objects from a message with a 3rd party to:

    • Provide, maintain and improve product features, content and Services
    • Fulfill your requests and when authorized by you;
    • Improve our Services;
    • Help advertisers and publishers connect to offer relevant Advertising in their apps and websites;
    • To match and serve targeted advertising (across devices and both on and off of our Services) and provide relevant advertising based on your device activity, inferred interests and location data. To learn more, you can visit the control tool for interest-based advertising;
    • Conduct research and support innovation of engaging products and Services;
    • Provide reporting to internal and external parties including, partners, third-parties and the public, including, without limitation, anonymous or pseudonymized reporting on trends and popular content (such as popular new stories within AOL or Yahoo Mail) and analytics regarding the use of our Services and ads;
    • Provide location-based Services, advertising, search results, and other content that are the most relevant to you based on your location; and
    • To better enable our security systems to detect and defend against fraudulent or abusive activity.
  6. Can I use Yahoo Mail and still opt-out of interest-based ads?

    Yes. Yahoo Mail respects your choice to opt out of interest-based ads. Keep in mind, your opt-out will also apply to certain other products we offer including analyzing communications content for advertising purposes and receiving interest-based content. Depending on your locale, you can easily exercise this choice here, or find it via links within Yahoo Mail, as well as footer and icon links available throughout Oath.

  7. What does Mobile Uploader do?

    If you turn on the Mobile Uploader feature all photos and videos from your device camera roll/or other photos storage feature will be automatically uploaded to Mail. These photos and videos will be stored as private on Mail until you choose to share them. You can turn off the Uploader feature at any time in your app settings. The Mobile Uploader feature may collect information about photos and videos uploaded to Mail, as provided above under “How does analysis work?”