Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
Pinterest email notifications and ethical defaults
I just received an email from Pinterest to let me know that one of my Facebook friends has joined the service. I found the email odd, because I specifically remember turning off all email notifications (since I don’t use the site any more). I clicked through to “change notification preferences”, and saw this:
Ah, I see. This is a new “feature” Pinterest added, so they decided to turn the email notification on by default. I immediately thought of Vibhu Norby’s words:
Private is an ethical default. Public is not.
That principle should also go for email notifications from any service. “Off” is an ethical default. “On” is not. I’m picking on Pinterest because it’s the most recent example, but this has become common practice on the web. The irony is that sending me email I didn’t explicitly ask for makes me less likely to engage with a site, not more.