Bing is using Microsoft Clarity to spy on you without your consent
If you're using Bing Ads on your website, I have some bad news. You may not know that Bing is using Microsoft Clarity to secretly spy on your website without your consent.
Are you being watched? The answer is most probably yes with all you and your visitor's information sent to Microsoft without your consent.
This unethical behavior is a travesty, and I'll tell you why.
When I first found out Microsoft Clarity scripts were loaded on Howuku website. I was stunned and shocked thinking that our website was hijacked having all our visitor's information sent to malicious hackers and being spied on.
Later, I discovered that it comes with the Bing Ads conversion tracking script. After removing the conversion script, we successfully removed Microsoft Clarity.
Now, It doesn't make this situation any better than being hijacked by malicious hackers that wanted to steal our visitor's information.
If anything, it made it worse than small scaled hacking activity that is only hacking hundreds of individual computers.
When compared to how an enterprise like Microsoft can easily infect millions of users by injecting Microsoft Clarity into their user's website, collecting user behavior data without explicitly asking for permission to do it.
What is Microsoft Clarity?
Microsoft Clarity is a new behavior analytics tool that is released by Microsoft back in October 2020.
It was supposed to provide website owners with insights into how visitors interact with their site.
Ironically, website owners do not have permission for their own data which was installed through Bing Ads and sneakily monitoring your site without your consent.
Why should you care?
The nature of behavior recordings is not bad, it is like installing CCTV in your home because you wanted to know what is happening inside your house when you're not around.
However, when it was done by a big corporation that has thousands of employees who have access to that CCTV installed inside your house without your consent. That is totally disgusting.
Now, imagine hiring a security company to install a simple tracking device on the door of your house to record how many people walk through the door.
Except, they are also installing hidden cameras everywhere without telling you about it, and promise they will blur out any faces because they just wanted to study your behavior.
Yikessss. That is creepy as hell. 🤢
Why are they doing it?
It is not clear if this practice is legal, as there is no explicit consent given by the user.
However, Microsoft Clarity's terms of service state that the data collected may be used for "research and development purposes".
It is possible that Bing Ads is using Microsoft Clarity to collect data about user behavior in order to improve its advertising services.
The company says that the data collected will help advertisers improve their campaigns.
With that being said, we are still not convinced that It is an acceptable excuse to install spyware on your user websites without explicit consent and it is very alarming to do so.
What information was being collected?
Although Microsoft Clarity does not collect personally identifiable information (PII), it does collect data that could be used to personally identify a website visitor.
This includes the visitor's IP address, browser, device, and operating system, which could be used to identify the visitor's identity or track their online activity.
Ask yourself, are you okay with malicious hackers installing Remote Access Trojan (RAT) on your computer and they promise they couldn't identify who you are and only wanted to study your behavior?
What can you do about it?
There are 2 ways you can do that:
The first one is to specifically tell Bing Ads not to track you by submitting a request form through this form. But even if you do opt-out, there's no guarantee that your data won't be collected.
If you would like to continue using Bing Ads for conversion tracking, I urge you to fill up the form beforehand and only start using Bing Ads after they have approved opting you out.
Another way to do that is to go to disable it from UET Tag in Bing Ads.
The UET Tag setting is turned ON by default so you will need to turn it OFF manually, and you will need to know where to look for it. Here I've made a quick video tutorial to show you how to do that:
However, if you're still concerned about your privacy, you might want to avoid Bing Ads altogether. Or at the very least, be aware that your every move is being tracked.
Is Behavior Recording necessarily evil?
As I was mentioning earlier, behavior recording itself is not inherently evil. It is just how and who is doing it and for what kind of purposes.
In fact, website behavior recording can be a valuable tool for your business by allowing you to see how users interact with your product or website.
This can be helpful for identifying usability issues and discovering new features that users want or simply understanding how people use the product.
Should you be using Microsoft Clarity?
Microsoft Clarity works great and most importantly it is forever free.
It gives you valuable insights into how your users interact with your site and it can be used to improve the user experience by identifying areas where users are struggling.
However, Microsoft Clarity is a product of Microsoft, which has a history of questionable and unethical practices in data manipulation and privacy breaches.
Do you know what people say about a free tool? When you're not paying for the product, then you are the product.
If you are not comfortable with the idea of your data being used to improve Microsoft products and potentially used against you, there are alternatives to Microsoft Clarity that you can use.
You can find our recent articles here about the top alternative to Microsoft Clarity.
In conclusion, it is clear that Bing Ads is spying on website activity without user consent and this is an unethical practice that needs to be stopped.
Microsoft Clarity needs to be more transparent about how it collects data and what they do with the data.
If you are using Bing Ads right now, you have the ability to opt-out of the data collection on your website and you should do it quickly!
What we did is we removed the script altogether because we are not comfortable with how Microsoft can just install a session recording script on our site without our consent at all.
Let me know what you think about this unethical practice of Microsoft in the comment.
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