Yahoo forces switch from classic webmail -- levers in targeted ads

The clock is very much ticking for anyone still working with Yahoo Mail Classic. As of today, an upgrade will roll out forcing users to switch to the newest version. This in itself might not seem like earth-shattering news, but it is Yahoo's handling of the upgrade -- and the hidden payload -- that has users up in arms.

There are few forced upgrades that are welcomed unreservedly -- as changes to Gmail prove -- but this one is rather more sinister. Put simply, if you want to keep using Yahoo Mail you have to make the switch to the latest version or your inbox will become inaccessible. Sounds reasonable? Possibly not.

The redesign of the webmail interface is not new -- it has been around for several months now -- and it's not what is causing the uproar. Yahoo is not only strong-arming users into the upgrade, it is also levering in new terms and conditions. "Opt" to upgrade to the new version and you automatically accept the updated Communications Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Again, in itself this is nothing out of the ordinary; many services get updated and this frequently includes a change to the terms of service. But Yahoo's change is a big one. In agreeing to the new policy, users are agreeing to the "automated content scanning and analyzing of your communications content". This data will then be used to "deliver product features, relevant advertising, and abuse protection".

In other words, targeted advertising.

It is possible to opt out of seeing advertisements that have been tailored to you by adjusting settings in the Ad Interest Manager but this will not stop emails from being scanned and analyzed.

Users can also avoid advertising altogether by accessing Yahoo Mail via IMAP or, as Yahoo helpfully points out, by closing their accounts.

Are you happy to switch to the new Yahoo Mail, or will you be moving elsewhere in light of the forced upgrade?

Photo Credits:  Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock

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