Your privacy is critically important to us. At Automattic, we have a few fundamental principles:
- We are thoughtful about the personal information we ask you to provide and the personal information that we collect about you through the operation of our services.
- We store personal information for only as long as we have a reason to keep it.
- We aim to make it as simple as possible for you to control what information on your website is shared publicly (or kept private), indexed by search engines, and permanently deleted.
- We help protect you from overreaching government demands for your personal information.
- We aim for full transparency on how we gather, use, and share your personal information.
Who We Are and What This Policy Covers
Howdy! We are the folks behind a variety of products and services designed to allow anyone — from bloggers, to photographers, small business owners, and enterprises — to take full advantage of the power and promise of the open web. Our mission is to democratize publishing and commerce so that anyone with a story can tell it, and anyone can turn their great idea into a livelihood. We believe in powering the open internet with code that is open source and are proud to say that the vast majority of our work is available under the General Public License (“GPL”). Unlike most other services, because our GPL code is public, you can actually download and take a look at that code to see how it works.
- Our websites (including automattic.com, wordpress.com, vip.wordpress.com, jetpack.com, woocommerce.com, crowdsignal.com, gravatar.com, intensedebate.com, vaultpress.com, akismet.com, simplenote.com, simperium.com, leandomainsearch.com, cloudup.com, longreads.com, atavist.com, and happy.tools);
- Our mobile applications (including the WordPress mobile app for Android and iOS);
- Our other Automattic products, services, and features that are available on or through our websites (for example, WordPress.com plans, Recurring Payments, Simple Payments, WordPress.com VIP, Jetpack, the WooCommerce Services Extension, Gravatar, the IntenseDebate comment management system, Akismet plans, Simplenote, Simperium, Cloudup, Longreads, and Happy Tools); and
- Other users’ websites that use our Services, while you are logged in to your account with us.
Below we explain how we collect, use, and share information about you, along with the choices that you have with respect to that information.
Information We Collect
We only collect information about you if we have a reason to do so — for example, to provide our Services, to communicate with you, or to make our Services better.
We collect this information from three sources: if and when you provide information to us, automatically through operating our Services, and from outside sources. Let’s go over the information that we collect.
Information You Provide to Us
It’s probably no surprise that we collect information that you provide to us directly. Here are some examples:
- Basic account information: We ask for basic information from you in order to set up your account. For example, we require individuals who sign up for a WordPress.com account to provide an email address and password, along with a username or name — and that’s it. You may provide us with more information — like your address and other information you want to share — but we don’t require that information to create a WordPress.com account.
- Public profile information: If you have an account with us, we collect the information that you provide for your public profile. For example, if you have a WordPress.com account, your username is part of that public profile, along with any other information you put into your public profile, like a photo or an “About Me” description. Your public profile information is just that — public — so please keep that in mind when deciding what information you would like to include.
- Payment and contact information: If you buy something from us or earn revenue through your site, we’ll collect information to process those payments and contact you. If you buy something from us — a subscription to a WordPress.com plan, a premium theme, a custom domain, some Longreads swag — or if you pay fees to a person or business through their WordPress.com site (for example via Recurring Payments or Simple Payments), you’ll provide additional personal and payment information like your name, credit card information, and contact information. We also keep a record of the purchases you’ve made. If you use our Ecommerce Services (including Store on WordPress.com, the WooCommerce Services extension, and WooCommerce Payments), you’ll have to create a WordPress.com account or connect an existing account and, for some Services, provide your site URL. You may also provide us with financial details to set up a payments integration, like the email address for your Stripe or PayPal account or your bank account information. If you participate in a revenue sharing opportunity for your site, like WordAds, you’ll provide some additional information — for example, a tax ID or other identifier so we can process payments to you.
- Happy Tools information: If you are a Happy Tools user, you will provide us with information to set up your Happy Tools account and make use of the Service’s features. For example, you might enter timezone and location information, company and team information, and contact information.
- Content information: You might provide us with information about you in draft and published content (a blog post or comment that includes biographic information about you, or any media or files you upload).
- Credentials: Depending on the Services you use, you may provide us with credentials for your self-hosted website (like SSH, FTP, and SFTP username and password). Jetpack and VaultPress users may provide us with these credentials in order to use our one-click restore feature if there is a problem with their site, or to allow us to troubleshoot problems more quickly.
- Communications with us (hi there!): You may also provide us with information when you respond to surveys, communicate with our Happiness Engineers about a support question, post a question in our public forums, or sign up for a newsletter like the one we send through Longreads. When you communicate with us via form, email, phone, WordPress.com comment, or otherwise, we store a copy of our communications (including any call recordings as permitted by applicable law).
- Job applicant information: If you apply for a job with us — awesome! You may provide us with information like your name, contact information, resume or CV, and work authorization verification as part of the application process.
Information We Collect Automatically
We also collect some information automatically:
- Log information: Like most online service providers, we collect information that web browsers, mobile devices, and servers typically make available, including the browser type, IP address, unique device identifiers, language preference, referring site, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information. We collect log information when you use our Services — for example, when you create or make changes to your website on WordPress.com.
- Usage information: We collect information about your usage of our Services. For example, we collect information about the actions that site administrators and users perform on a site using our WordPress.com or Jetpack services — in other words, who did what and when (e.g., [WordPress.com username] deleted “[title of post]” at [time/date]). Our WooCommerce Usage Tracker also tracks information like your email address, WooCommerce settings, and PHP settings, along with information about your online store, like the aggregate number of orders and customers. We also collect information about what happens when you use our Services (e.g., page views, support document searches at en.support.wordpress.com, features enabled for your website, interactions with our Admin Bar and other parts of our Services) along with information about your device (e.g., screen size, name of cellular network, and mobile device manufacturer). We use this information to, for example, provide our Services to you, get insights on how people use our Services so we can make our Services better, and understand and make predictions about user retention.
- Location information: We may determine the approximate location of your device from your IP address. We collect and use this information to, for example, calculate how many people visit our Services from certain geographic regions. We may also collect information about your precise location via our mobile apps (like when you post a photograph with location information) if you allow us to do so through your mobile device operating system’s permissions.
- Stored information: We may access information stored on your mobile device via our mobile apps. We access this stored information through your device operating system’s permissions. For example, if you give us permission to access the photographs on your mobile device’s camera roll, our Services may access the photos stored on your device when you upload a really amazing photograph of the sunrise to your website.
- Interactions with other users’ sites: We collect some information about your interactions with other users’ sites while you are logged in to your account with us, such as your “Likes” and the fact that you commented on a particular post, so that we can, for example, recommend posts we think may interest you. As another example, we collect information about the comments IntenseDebate users make while logged in and use that information to, for example, tally up statistics about your comments (check them out in your dashboard!) and display information about your comments in your IntenseDebate public profile.
Information We Collect from Other Sources
We may also get information about you from other sources. For example, if you create or log in to your WordPress.com account through another service (like Google) or if you connect your website or account to a social media service (like Twitter) through our Publicize feature, we’ll receive information from that service (e.g., your username, basic profile information, friends list) via the authorization procedures for that service. As another example, if you use WooCommerce Payments, we’ll receive information relating to your Stripe account, such as your email address and phone number. The information we receive depends on which services you use or authorize and what options are available.
Third-party services may also give us information, like mailing addresses for individuals who are not yet our users (but we hope will be!). We use this information for marketing purposes like postcards and other mailers advertising our Services.
How and Why We Use Information
Purposes for Using Information
We use information about you for the purposes listed below:
- To provide our Services. For example, to set up and maintain your account, host your website, backup and restore your website, provide customer service, process payments and orders, and verify user information.
- To ensure quality, maintain safety, and improve our Services. For example, by providing automatic upgrades and new versions of our Services. Or, for example, by monitoring and analyzing how users interact with our Services so we can create new features that we think our users will enjoy and that will help them create and manage websites more efficiently or make our Services easier to use.
- To place and manage ads in our advertising program. For example, to place ads on our users’ sites and some of our own sites as part of our advertising program, and understand ad performance.
- To market our Services and measure, gauge, and improve the effectiveness of our marketing. For example, by targeting our marketing messages to groups of our users (like those who have a particular plan with us or have been users for a certain length of time), advertising our Services, analyzing the results of our marketing campaigns (like how many people purchased a paid plan after receiving a marketing message), and understanding and forecasting user retention.
- To protect our Services, our users, and the public. For example, by detecting security incidents; detecting and protecting against malicious, deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity; fighting spam; complying with our legal obligations; and protecting the rights and property of Automattic and others, which may result in us, for example, declining a transaction or terminating Services.
- To fix problems with our Services. For example, by monitoring, debugging, repairing, and preventing issues.
- To customize the user experience. For example, to personalize your experience by serving you relevant notifications and advertisements for our Services, recommending content through our Reader post suggestions, and providing new essays and stories through Longreads for your reading pleasure.
- To communicate with you. For example, by emailing you to ask for your feedback, share tips for getting the most out of our products, or keep you up to date on Automattic; texting you to verify your payment; or calling you to share offers and promotions that we think will be of interest to you. If you don’t want to hear from us, you can opt out of marketing communications at any time. (If you opt out, we’ll still send you important updates relating to your account.)
- To recruit and hire new Automatticians. For example, by evaluating job applicants and communicating with them.
Legal Bases for Collecting and Using Information
A note here for those in the European Union about our legal grounds for processing information about you under EU data protection laws, which is that our use of your information is based on the grounds that:
(1) The use is necessary in order to fulfill our commitments to you under the applicable terms of service or other agreements with you or is necessary to administer your account — for example, in order to enable access to our website on your device or charge you for a paid plan; or
(2) The use is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation; or
(3) The use is necessary in order to protect your vital interests or those of another person; or
(4) We have a legitimate interest in using your information — for example, to provide and update our Services; to improve our Services so that we can offer you an even better user experience; to safeguard our Services; to communicate with you; to measure, gauge, and improve the effectiveness of our advertising; and to understand our user retention and attrition; to monitor and prevent any problems with our Services; and to personalize your experience; or
How Long We Keep Information
We generally discard information about you when it’s no longer needed for the purposes for which we collect and use it — described in the section above on How and Why We Use Information — and we’re not legally required to keep it.
For example, we keep the web server logs that record information about a visitor to one of Automattic’s websites, like the visitor’s IP address, browser type, and operating system, for approximately 30 days. We retain the logs for this period of time in order to, among other things, analyze traffic to Automattic’s websites and investigate issues if something goes wrong on one of our websites.
As another example, when you delete a post, page, or comment from your WordPress.com site, it stays in your Trash folder for thirty days in case you change your mind and would like to restore that content, because starting from scratch is no fun. After the thirty days are up, the deleted content may remain on our backups and caches until purged.
While no online service is 100% secure, we work very hard to protect information about you against unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction, and take reasonable measures to do so. We monitor our Services for potential vulnerabilities and attacks.
To enhance the security of your account, we encourage you to enable our advanced security settings, like Two Step Authentication.
You have several choices available when it comes to information about you:
- Limit the information that you provide: If you have an account with us, you can choose not to provide the optional account information, profile information, and transaction and billing information. Please keep in mind that if you do not provide this information, certain features of our Services — for example, premium themes that carry an additional charge — may not be accessible.
- Limit access to information on your mobile device: Your mobile device operating system should provide you with the option to discontinue our ability to collect stored information or location information via our mobile apps. If you choose to limit this, you may not be able to use certain features, like geotagging for photographs.
- Opt out of marketing communications: You may opt out of receiving promotional communications from us. Just follow the instructions in those communications or let us know. If you opt out of promotional communications, we may still send you other communications, like those about your account and legal notices.
- Set your browser to reject cookies: At this time, Automattic does not respond to “do not track” signals across all of our Services. However, you can usually chooseto set your browser to remove or reject browser cookies before using Automattic’s websites, with the drawback that certain features of Automattic’s websites may not function properly without the aid of cookies.
- Close your account: While we’d be very sad to see you go, you can close your account if you no longer want to use our Services. (Here are account closure instructions for WordPress.com accounts.) Please keep in mind that we may continue to retain your information after closing your account, as described in How Long We Keep Information above — for example, when that information is reasonably needed to comply with (or demonstrate our compliance with) legal obligations such as law enforcement requests, or reasonably needed for our legitimate business interests.
If you are located in certain parts of the world, including California and countries that fall under the scope of the European General Data Protection Regulation (aka the “GDPR”), you may have certain rights regarding your personal information, like the right to request access to or deletion of your data.
European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
If you are located in a country that falls under the scope of the GDPR, data protection laws give you certain rights with respect to your personal data, subject to any exemptions provided by the law, including the rights to:
- Request access to your personal data;
- Request correction or deletion of your personal data;
- Object to our use and processing of your personal data;
- Request that we limit our use and processing of your personal data; and
- Request portability of your personal data.
You also have the right to make a complaint to a government supervisory authority.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) requires us to provide California residents with some additional information about the categories of personal information we collect and share, where we get that personal information, and how and why we use it.
The CCPA also requires us to provide a list of the “categories” of personal information we collect, as that term is defined in the law, so, here it is. In the last 12 months, we collected the following categories of personal information from California residents, depending on the Services used:
- Identifiers (like your name, contact information, and device and online identifiers);
- Commercial information (your billing information and purchase history, for example);
- Characteristics protected by law (for example, you might provide your gender as part of a research survey for us);
- Internet or other electronic network activity information (such as your usage of our Services, like the actions you take as an administrator of a WordPress.com site);
- Geolocation data (such as your location based on your IP address);
- Audio, electronic, visual or similar information (such as your profile picture, if you uploaded one);
- Professional or employment-related information (for example, your company and team information if you are a Happy Tools user, or information you provide in a job application); and
- Inferences we make (such as likelihood of retention or attrition).
You can find more information about what we collect and sources of that information in the Information We Collect section above.
We collect personal information for the business and commercial purposes described in the How and Why We Use Information section. And we share this information with the categories of third parties described in the Sharing Information section.
If you are a California resident, you have additional rights under the CCPA, subject to any exemptions provided by the law, including the right to:
- Request to know the categories of personal information we collect, the categories of business or commercial purpose for collecting and using it, the categories of sources from which the information came, the categories of third parties we share it with, and the specific pieces of information we collect about you;
- Request deletion of personal information we collect or maintain;
- Opt out of any sale of personal information; and
- Not receive discriminatory treatment for exercising your rights under the CCPA.
The CCPA & Personalized Advertising in Our Ads Program
The personal information we share includes online identifiers; internet or other network or device activity (such as cookie information, other device identifiers, and IP address); and geolocation data (approximate location information from your IP address). These disclosures may be considered a “sale” of information under the CCPA. We do not sell (or share) information through our ads program that identifies you personally, like your name or contact information. We don’t knowingly sell personal information of those under 16. Learn how you can opt out by going to California: Do Not Sell My Personal Information.
Contacting Us About These Rights
You can usually access, correct, or delete your personal data using your account settings and tools that we offer, but if you aren’t able to or you’d like to contact us about one of the other rights, scroll down to “How to Reach Us” to, well, find out how to reach us.
When you contact us about one of your rights under this section, we’ll need to verify that you are the right person before we disclose or delete anything. For example, if you are a user, we will need you to contact us from the email address associated with your account. You can also designate an authorized agent to make a request on your behalf by giving us written authorization. We may still require you to verify your identity with us.
Controllers and Responsible Companies
Automattic’s Services are worldwide. Different Automattic companies are the controller (or co-controller) of personal information, which means that they are the company responsible for processing that information, based on the particular service and the location of the individual using our Services.
Depending on the Services you use, more than one company may be the controller of your personal data. Generally, the “controller” is the Automattic company that entered into the contract with you under the Terms of Service for the product or service you use. In addition, Automattic Inc., our US-based company, is the controller for some of the processing activities across all of our Services worldwide.
The chart below explains the current controllers for processing your personal information. We use the term “Designated Countries” to refer to Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and all countries located in the European continent.
How to Reach Us
Other Things You Should Know (Keep Reading!)
- In the case of US based entities, entering into European Commission approved standard contractual arrangements with them, or ensuring they have signed up to the EU-US Privacy Shield; or
- In the case of entities based in other countries outside the EEA, entering into European Commission approved standard contractual arrangements with them.
You can ask us for more information about the steps we take to protect your personal information when transferring it from the EU.
Ads and Analytics Services Provided by Others
Third-Party Software and Services
Visitors to Our Users’ Websites
Users control the content posted on their sites, so any disputes regarding content on a user’s site should be made directly to the site owner, through their “contact us” page, at an email address they provide, or by leaving a comment on the site.
That’s it! Thanks for reading.