Sometimes, it really pays to create so much protest noise online about a certain policy that users find unfair. And it pays to have a brand that listens. Evernote immediately backtracked on their revised privacy policy just a day after announcing it. Earlier in the day, the CEO actually apologized for the announcement that “was communicated poorly” but just a few hours later, they decided to not implement the changes at all and assured that “no employees will be reading note content” for their machine learning process “unless users opt in.”

CEO Chris O’Neill had to douse online fires early on as users expressed their unhappiness over the revised privacy policy. Their announcement said that unless users opt-out, the notes saved on their cloud can be accessed by certain engineers as part of the machine learning process to create better features based on what you’ve been saving on your Evernote account. You can imagine how something like that will be received by people, especially in this age of digital privacy issues. What O’Neill apologized for was the poorly worded and communicated announcement, but not the policy itself.

But just after a few hours, they posted another blog saying that they have decided to not implement the changes that were supposed to take effect by January 23, 2017. Instead of the opt-out option, users will have to opt-in if they want Evernote to have access to their saved notes, just in case some of them are feeling generous with their information and want to help out their machine learning technologies. They emphasized their commitment to not let any employee read notes without express permission and that they are complying with existing privacy laws.

Whether they really failed to think things through when they made the announcement or they were afraid of the massive negative reaction and eventual user fallout because of this, the reversal of their initial decision is good news for their loyal users and Evernote in the long run.

SOURCES: Evernote (1), (2)



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