Privacy Policy FAQs

As you may be aware, a change in data protection – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – comes into force on May 25 2018.

As a result, we’ve made a number of changes to how we handle your data and the choices you have. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy (you can read the summary at the top or click on individual sections to see more detail). As it’s a fairly long document (and a dry subject) we have also created some Frequently Asked Questions which we hope will be useful.

We are emailing all our members to let them know about these changes and you can read a post about them here. As ever, we really welcome your feedback. Do comment on the post or email contactus@mumsnet.com if you have any thoughts, questions or concerns.

What changes has Mumsnet made for GDPR? | Why does Mumsnet collect users' data? | Do you sell my data? | Am I anonymous on Mumsnet? | What about posts on Mumsnet Talk? | What about Private Messages? | What changes have you made to My Account? | What are cookies? How does Mumsnet use them? | Why am I being followed around the web by adverts? | How can I get rid of cookies? | How can I change my registration information? | How can I delete my account? | Who makes decisions about data at Mumsnet? | Where can I get more information about Mumsnet’s data policy?

What changes has Mumsnet made for GDPR?

We have made several changes for GDPR, including:

  • Being clear when asking for consent for collecting, storing and processing personal data
  • Reducing the number of Mumsnet staff who have access to users’ data
  • Giving users more control over how they can edit their data in My Account
  • Making My Public Profile simpler and defaulting it to private (users can reset to public)
  • Reviewing our data deletion policy
  • Creating a clear route for users to ask for all the data we hold on them
  • Rewriting our Privacy Policy to reflect these changes, and explain what data we store and the choices users have
  • Emailing all members to make them aware of these changes

Why does Mumsnet collect users’ data? What do you use it for?

You can read lots of detail about this in our new Privacy Policy, but here’s the short version: some data (eg your username and email address on sign-up) is necessary for Mumsnet Talk to function if you want to post and read as a registered user. Some data (eg your name and email address if you enter a competition) is needed so that we can get in contact with you. Some data (eg cookies linked to browsing habits) is collected so that we can understand what individuals are looking at – this helps us to show you more relevant content and ads and can improve the rate we get from advertisers. (Advertising is one of the ways in which we fund Mumsnet). Some data (analytics data – eg knowing which pages users click away from very quickly, versus which pages users stay on for ages) helps us understand what people find useful and helps us improve user experience.

In short: collecting data is fundamentally necessary to run and fund Mumsnet and to make it as functional as possible for our users. Going forward, we aim to improve our use and understanding of Mumsnet data but only as far as we remain within the letter and the spirit of the law.

Do you sell my data?

We don’t sell your personal data (such as your email address). We’ve always been explicit about this and it has never been part of our business model. But part of our revenue is from advertising, and we get paid more by advertisers if we can show ads to people who will be more likely to find the ads relevant. So we allow certain advertising technology companies (such as Google) to place a “tag” on our site, which in turn allows them to place a cookie on your device (eg your phone or laptop). This means they can see what pages your device is browsing and send your device ads based on those pages.

We don’t share any other information (such as your Mumsnet username or email address) with advertising technology companies, but they can identify your device. Our Privacy Policy explains how to turn off cookies – although be aware certain site features will become a bit more clunky without any cookies (for example you will not be able to log in without cookies).

To enter some competitions on site, we typically ask you to provide your name and email address and whether you are willing to share that data with the company hosting the competition. If you agree to this, we will send the data you have entered for that competition; this does not include your history or any other data from Mumsnet.

Am I anonymous on Mumsnet?

Our default assumption is that users wish to remain anonymous, and we see it as our job to facilitate that. We will never make decisions that compromise your anonymity, eg by sharing any of your personal data with outside parties, unless you proactively consent.

That said, the choices you make when using Mumsnet could compromise your anonymity. Your choice of username, the contents of your posts, and any photos you post could all lead to you being recognised. (If you’re ever worried that you’ve said too much or been ‘outed’, let us know on contactus@mumsnet.com or hit ‘report’ on one of your posts and our moderation team can help.)

What about posts on Mumsnet Talk? Are they personal data? Do you sell them to anyone?

Talk posts are public; anyone on the internet can read them. You retain the copyright over your posts but grant us a license to use them as part of the Ts&Cs of using the site. From time to time, for example as part of Mumsnet Books, we sell written editorial which includes posts from the site.

Though public posts, in and of themselves, are not personal data, when combined with other personal data we might hold – for example registration data – they can become sensitive personal data. Therefore this combination of information should never be made available to anyone outside Mumsnet HQ without your express personal consent. As part of our preparation for GDPR, we limited the number of staff within Mumsnet who have access to your registration data, and we will continue to review this list and to keep it as restricted as possible. (Some Mumsnet staff do need to be able to see this information in order to carry out necessary functions such as moderating the Talk forums.)

We also on occasion provide an anonymised copy of all Talk posts to trusted analysis companies to help them understand social trends and create software tools in return for payment. We do not provide your email address or any other personal data to these companies.

What about my Private Messages?

Private messages are not visible to the public. You can delete Private Messages you have sent at any time by going to your My Account page.

What changes have you made to My Account, Public Profile and My Photos pages?

In My Account, there is now a single page where you can easily see, edit or delete information you may have provided such as your name, gender, age, number of children and postcode. A username and email address are the only information that we require to create a Mumsnet account.

The My Public Profile page has been simplified and now contains a box where you can write a short paragraph to introduce yourself to other Mumsnetters. We will display the text on your public profile, but will not use the information for anything else. You can edit or delete it at any time.

All Public Profiles have been set to private, as part of our housekeeping. So you will have to nip back into your account if you want to make your Profile visible to other Mumsnetters.

We have temporarily suspended My Photos as it is an extremely old part of the site, and doesn’t work for most people. We’ll revamp and improve this service before putting it live again. We're sorry for the inconvenience.

What are cookies? How does Mumsnet use them?

There’s a good explanation of what cookies are here http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-cookies. (NB This page is from 2012, so the legal information at the bottom isn’t up to date on GDPR.)

You can find detail about how we use cookies in our Privacy Policy. But, in a nutshell, we use cookies for three reasons:

  1. To improve user experience. Cookies mean we can track your preferences on things like how Talk is displayed and show your bookmarks if you’re logged in to Mumsnet. They also mean you can log in to Mumsnet and post on Talk.
  2. To show you more relevant content and ads.
  3. To gather aggregate information about how many people visit Mumsnet, how often, and what they look at while on the site (known as 'analytics').

Why am I being followed around the web by adverts for a product I looked at last week?

Advertising technology ('AdTech') companies such as Google store a link to a cookie that we and other sites have allowed them to place on your device (unless you have turned advertising cookies off). If you browse some websites, that website can use AdTech companies to show their ads to that device again (on other websites). This is known as 'retargeting'.

I don’t want cookies. How can I get rid of them?

  1. Details of how to decline Google Analytics cookies are here.
  2. There are three main associations that allow you to visit their websites to opt out of all cookies served by their advertising members. You will still see adverts; they just won't be tailored to your interests or browsing habits.
    Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) www.aboutads.info/choices/
    European Digital Advertising Alliance (EDDA) www.youronlinechoices.com
    Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) www.networkadvertising.org/choices/
  3. You can usually modify your browser settings to decline all cookies if you prefer. Each browser is different, so check the “Help” menu of your browser to learn how to change your cookie preferences. Instructions for the most common browsers are provided at www.allaboutcookies.org/manage-cookies. (Bear in mind if you turn off browser cookies Mumsnet might not work as well for you afterwards.)

How can I change the email address you hold for me or other information I gave you when I registered?

Log in to My Account to delete or change the registration data we hold for you.

If you are worried about any Talk posts you’ve made, please report one of your posts and explain the problem in the contact form, or email contactus@mumsnet.com and we’ll help if we can.

How can I delete my account?

If you log in to My Account you can delete your account from there. This will delete: email, password and, if provided, first name, last name, postcode, date of birth, due date, children's names, gender and dates of birth, your gender, registration IP, Private Messages that you have sent.

Who makes decisions about data at Mumsnet?

Senior staff from our moderation and data teams make decisions on data. If a decision isn’t clear cut, ultimately Justine Roberts, our CEO, decides.

Where can I get more information about Mumsnet’s data policy?

Please read our Privacy Policy which you can read in summary or by clicking in to read more detail.