Good Embed

Alex Feerst
The Medium Blog
Published in
2 min readSep 23, 2015


One of our goals at Medium is to treat our users better than anyone else. And a way we do this is by trying to make it actually clear (not just legally defensible) what we are doing with data and analytics.

To this end, we’ve designed Medium to respect users who browse “Do Not Track”-style. Last month, we were honored when the Electronic Frontier Foundation singled us out for providing users clear guidance as one of the first implementers of EFF’s Do Not Track (DNT) policy.

But complying with DNT presents a new challenge for sites (like Medium) that have embedded content (like YouTube videos). Even though Medium will not track any logged-out user with DNT enabled, we can’t make that promise for embedded content hosted by a third party using its own analytics.

So, what to do?

For the embedded content on Medium, we use an API built by Embedly. We asked the folks at Embedly (as well as EFF) to help us come up with a solution to allow a good DNT experience of the site while also ensuring you don’t slip into being tracked without realizing it. Faster than we expected, Embedly came through with an elegant solution.

We started rolling it out late last week. Here’s how it works.

If you’re browsing with DNT enabled, your browser will not automatically download embedded content if the host site does not comply with DNT. Instead, it will display a poster in front of the embed telling you that the embedded content behind it does not comply with DNT and that clicking through may cause you to be tracked by the party hosting that embed (or some other third-party). If you want to click through to the embed, go for it. We just want to make sure you know that clicking through might move you from DNT to T.

Here’s a sample:

Let us know what you think.