Data Collection and Use Practices

Data Collection and Use Practices

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This page provides additional information about some of the practices and technologies that we implement to collect, use and share data.  

The Verizon Media Group serves nearly one billion users across the world every day. Operating Internet services at this scale requires us to understand how our systems, networks, and products are performing. To achieve this, much of the data we collect is aggregated and analyzed through our analytics platforms.

These platforms generate necessary reporting and useful insights into every area of our business, including:

  • Financial reporting, accounting, billing, and auditing
  • Business development, understanding industry trends, competitive analyses, brand marketing, and mergers and acquisitions
  • Measuring the performance of our vendors and partners
  • System and network performance monitoring and operation, capacity planning, troubleshooting, traffic optimization, load balancing, and related operational purposes
  • Security, anti-fraud, anti-spam, and anti-abuse
  • Measuring the performance and effectiveness of ad systems, campaigns, and partnerships for us and our partners
  • Product improvement, new product and new feature development
  • Aggregate audience insights for us and our partners
  • Aggregate site, app, and product analytics for us and our partners

When we share aggregate reports with our partners, we only provide statistical summaries of data. This means that we do not provide user-identifying records to partners. For more information, see ‘How we Share Your Information’ in Verizon Media Privacy Policy.

We strive to continually improve our existing and to develop new offerings we think our users will find useful and enjoy. We prioritise these efforts based on feedback we receive from our users, market research, industry trends, and data we collect about how our current Products are being used. In most cases, we use aggregate data for product improvement and development, which means it does not involve user-level inferences or analyses.

Examples of data uses for product improvement and development include:

  • User experience testing
  • Quality assurance and product testing (including security testing)
  • Bug detection and resolution
  • Measuring product performance (for example, the time it takes pages and apps to load)

Our systems are configured to automatically collect and use data for security and operational purposes. We generally retain this data for short periods, though we keep some  for longer periods to detect, mitigate, or prosecute malicious or criminal activity. We  data into statistical reports to help understand system and network performance over time.

Examples of security and operational uses include:

  • System and network performance monitoring
  • Security analysis (such as intrusion detection, vulnerability assessment, and penetration testing)
  • Failure and outage detection and repair
  • Troubleshooting and debugging
  • Capacity planning and forecasting
  • Traffic optimisation and load balancing
  • Measuring vendor and partner systems and network performance

Due to the critical nature of these activities to our business, Verizon Media does not offer you choices or controls over the use of data for security and operational purposes.

This section provides additional information about some of the specific practices that we use to personalise the experiences that we show you, like ads or articles. Check out How Digital Advertising Works for an overview of how we use your data to personalise your ads. 

Our personalised experiences include:

  • seeing more of the content, articles, ads and videos you enjoy or have shown an interest
  • suggesting new content or products we think you might like based on your previous activity
  • remembering your recent activity like recent stock quotes or your web searches

The techniques that we use to help us personalise your experiences include:

  • Linking household, account, device and cookie identifiers
  • Processing IP addresses
  • Browser and devices with limited cookie support
  • Smart TVs and interactive devices
  • Cookies, beacons, scripts and SDKs
  • Automated processing and machine learning

Verizon Media uses different techniques to link unique identifiers present in households, accounts, devices, and cookies and other technologies that likely belong to the same user or are present in the same household. These identifiers are linked through common elements like shared IP addresses, shared use of a device or a mobile app, account logins across multiple devices, and identifier match and linkage data provided by third parties.

The types of identifiers we collect and process include:

  • Email addresses (both account email and alternate email addresses)
  • Phone numbers
  • Cookies or other technologies that contain unique identifiers
  • Apple iOS Advertising ID and Vendor ID
  • Google Android ID and Play Store Advertising ID
  • Household identifiers
  • IP address (version 4 and version 6)
  • and derivative values of any of the above

We collect and link these elements even if you are not logged in to a , for example, when you use a Product that does not require a login or where you interact with our on a third party website.

These identifiers are typically associated with data that is collected, observed, or inferred from Verizon Media users or derived from data that we receive from our partners.

With your consent, we link identifiers to increase the usefulness of the data we collect from different contexts and over time to provide you with enhanced content and advertising experiences. For instance, users that conduct web searches for sports scores of certain teams may be interested in seeing additional stories or videos about those teams in their news feed.

You have choices about how your data is linked. You can withdraw your consent and we will not link identifiers of individual browsers and mobile devices to enhance your content and advertising experiences by using the Device Linking control in Your Privacy Controls.

Your device’s IP address is sent to Verizon Media whenever you interact with one of our or . Third parties may also receive and pass your IP address to us when you interact with their products. Likewise, Verizon Media may relay your IP address to partners that we use to show content, ads and related products on our Products .

We collect your IP addresses over time to:

  • maintain the security of your account, data, and our systems, and networks
  • defend against fraud, spam, phishing, abuse, and other malicious activity
  • troubleshoot network, system, and related operational issues
  • determine your country or geographic region to:
    • identify your legal jurisdiction and the rights associated with your account
    • provide you with more relevant content and ads
  • limit the frequency of ads over time on devices without cookie support
  • understand your approximate home and work locations
  • link devices, browsers, and user accounts that may be associated in the same household or workplace
  • create aggregate statistics showing product usage by geographic region

Verizon Media collects and uses previously collected data from browsers and devices with limited cookie support, such as those enabled with cookie-blocking technology. In these cases, we generate a temporary ‘passive ID’ using various network signals to probabilistically identify such devices and improve our .

You can manage certain uses of passive IDs on these devices via the ‘Verizon Media Across the Web’ control located in Your Privacy Controls. Some cookie-blocking technologies may interfere with device, platform, and self-regulatory privacy controls so we recommend using the ‘Verizon Media Across the Web’ control in these cases.

We collect data from smart or connected TVs, ‘over-the-top’ streaming devices, and related interactive devices (collectively, ‘Smart Devices’) via TV apps that we operate, or we provide on these devices.

We link Smart Devices and associated data by common attributes (like IP address) and then group those devices into households.

In some cases, Smart Devices provide Verizon Media additional specific information to facilitate linking and targeting, like a TV device identifier or user login data. Please consult the privacy disclosures in your specific Smart Device for practices and controls that manage data collection and use.

We collect data on browsers, mobile phones, and related devices using industry-standard methods. These methods include using cookies, beacons, web storage, SDKs, tags and pixels, which we collectively refer to as ‘cookies and other technologies’.

To learn more about how we collect and use your data using cookies and other technologies visit our Cookie Policy.

We use various automated data processing techniques, like data models and machine learning, to improve our algorithms and the efficiency of all aspects of our  and .

The aspects of our Products and Services where we use automated data processing techniques include:

  • system performance and monitoring
  • security and operational efficiency
  • content personalization
  • predictive analytics
  • programmatic advertising

These techniques combine and use data from information sources to continually update and optimize these functions.

With the exception of automated processing needed to secure our systems, you have choices about our use of your data when such processing results in an inference about you or your activity. Visit Your Privacy Controls for more information.

Please note that our automated processing does not produce legal effects or other similarly significant effects about you.

Except as permitted by law, Verizon Media does not collect, use or share sensitive data about you for the purposes of providing you with personalised experiences. You may see ads for sensitive topics or products from us, but those ads are only based on the content of the page. 

We also contractually prohibit partners from collecting or using sensitive data from or about our users.

We and our  serve contextual ads related to sensitive topics on pages that contain the same or similar sensitive subject matter. These ads are selected based upon the content of the page and not from information derived from the user, browser, or device. For example, when you access the health section of a website, you may see health-related ads.

What location data do we collect?

Verizon Media collects and stores your or derives your location from other information. We obtain your location data from the following sources:

  • the region and time zone that you have selected in your device settings
  • and based on your IP address, GPS, Wi-Fi, or mobile phone tower proximity
  • your activity when you use our Products for example, when you use our Search Products to look for flights from London to Paris, we may infer that you reside in London
  • your associated with the content you upload and share in our Products like attachments, photos and videos, which can include location data

We receive location data, whether or , from our partners and third party data providers.

Our partners include our . We receive location data from them to deliver personalised ads, subject to your consent and their privacy practices. Advertising partners that use the offer granular control of how they share your data in these cases.

How do we use location data?

Verizon Media will use your that we’ve collected over time to:

  • infer the of where we believe you live and work. We use these inferences to:
    • determine the terms of service and legal jurisdiction that apply to you
    • determine the and Product features available to you
    • help decide what ads to serve you 
    • detect anomalous login activity in order to protect your account
  • determine the appropriate language for presenting our Products and
  • assist in the detection of fraud and abuse
  • conduct product analyses and provide aggregate insights to partners
  • provide enhanced location-based services (like weather forecasts based on your current location)
  • serve location-based advertising (for example, serving ads that are related to your current location, or based on previous locations that you have visited)
  • measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns (for example, if a device was observed in an advertiser’s store after that advertiser’s ad was shown on that device)
  • provide localised search results (like restaurants near your current location when you search for restaurants)
  • deliver content that may be relevant to your current or recent locations (for example, sports content relating to a team after your device had visited that team’s stadium).

Visit Your Privacy Controls to manage how Verizon Media uses your .

How do we share your location data?

With your consent, Verizon Media may share with our advertising partners. Visit the ‘Partners’ section in Your Privacy Controls to manage how Verizon Media shares your data with these partners.

Please note that our partners’ use of location data that you provide to them is subject to their own privacy policies.

If you share an account or device with another person, such as a family member, we will combine data about your use of, and interactions from, our across individual sessions.

When you share an account or device with another person or persons:

  • the content and ads that we show you may not reflect your activity or be relevant to you
  • people with access to your device settings and privacy preferences, including opt-out preferences, may change these settings without your notice

TIP: When using a shared device or account, ensure your settings are up to date each time you use the device, or confirm your preferences with those with whom you share your device.

Visit Your Privacy Controls to learn more about your shared devices and accounts.

From time to time, we carry out promotions like sweepstakes, competitions or giveaways. When you participate in a promotion, you are subject to the official rules of that promotion, which may contain information about the privacy practices associated with that promotion.

When you participate in a promotion, we require information, like your name, email address, postal address and telephone number. We use this information to process your participation in the promotion.

We may contact you in order to administer the promotion, provide status updates, or for other purposes specified in the official rules of the promotion.

Sometimes we share your information in connection with the promotion with third parties. Please see the official rules of each promotion for details.

Promotions hosted on our may be sponsored by Verizon Media or co-sponsored by Verizon Media and third parties. Verizon Media may also sponsor or co-sponsor promotions hosted by third parties.

Third parties that host promotions may collect and use your information alone or in conjunction with Verizon Media. If third parties collect and use your information, we recommend you review their privacy policies to learn about their information practices.

From time to time, Verizon Media invites users to participate in usability studies, surveys, and other types of qualitative and quantitative research. We also conduct research using data from our internal records.

Verizon Media recruits research subjects through a variety of means, including ads, email messages, and market research firms. We often require participants in studies and surveys to sign privacy or confidentiality agreements.

We also use Information about audiences and traffic from our own log files and user databases for research.

We carry out different types of research to:

  • help us better design our  
  • plan new features to add to our Products and
  • help us understand our users' wants and needs

We share or research statistics with our partners, prospective partners, or advertisers when relevant for them.