Introducing transparent ads in Microsoft Edge Preview


Today, we’re experimenting with transparent ads in the latest Canary build of Microsoft Edge. Transparent ads have been designed to raise the bar on transparency and control with new privacy standards for personalized ads on the web. With transparent ads, Microsoft Edge will be able to show people information about the personal data that is collected as they browse, who has access to the personal data, and which ads are personalized because of it. People can understand why they’re seeing specific ads and where they came from.


For ads personalized by a transparent ads-approved provider, a user will be able to:

  • See which ad provider is a part of the Transparent Ad Provider program.
  • See which ad provider is responsible for an ad.
  • See information about the data an ad provider collected or inferred to personalize that ad.
  • See the sites that an ad provider tracked the user across.
  • Visit the ad provider’s page to delete or de-identify any previously collected data.
  • Disable transparent ads in Microsoft Edge settings. When disabled, approved providers will not collect personal data in Microsoft Edge for personalized advertising.


These transparent ads are enabled through ad providers joining the Transparent Ads Provider program. Ad providers that join the Transparent Ads Provider program are contractually required to meet privacy requirements and will be exempt from tracking prevention enforcements in Balanced mode to allow more personalized ads. Balanced mode will continue to block trackers from sites users haven’t visited or from ad providers that are not compliant with Transparent Ads Provider program. Strict mode of tracking prevention will not change and will continue to block a majority of trackers from all sites. Users can disable transparent ads in settings if they choose. 




Protecting privacy online has primarily been done by blocking trackers – like through Microsoft Edge’s tracking prevention – blocking sites’ ability to collect the data needed to power relevant and personalized ads. While some people prefer to totally block trackers, others find personalized ads valuable. Transparent ads will help empower people to decide what is the right balance of personal privacy protections and ad personalization for them.


If you’re using the Canary preview build of Microsoft Edge, you can visit this demo page to see an example of how sites will start providing you with more transparency and control over ads from ad providers in the Transparent Ad Providers program. In the future, as ad providers join the program, you will start seeing more transparent ads as you browse the web. We look forward to hearing your early feedback on the transparent ads preview experience.


Long-term, and consistent with where the industry is headed, Microsoft Edge will phase out third-party cookies once new private advertising APIs have been standardized and broadly adopted. Transparent ads are intended as a bridge to help the industry move towards more privacy-preserving techniques and increased transparency and control, rather than be a permanent solution.

2 Replies

Transparent ads looks like a great idea, can't wait for more ad-providers to join this program. BTW the Demo page and Transparent ads settings page isn't functional right now (build 98.0.1107.0). After turning on more than two buttons the Ads on this page menu doesn't render properly and the Settings page doesn't open at all and shows a black empty screen.

Let me get this straight. Transparent ad providers will be allowed to 'force' trackers on users without ability to block them. Right ? This really muddies the waters on tracking protection, prevention, and privacy. I can understand ads appearing when appropriate, but not tracking and cookies being collected without my permission and then having these 3rd parties then sharing, selling, or breaching personal information that was not permitted in the first place. The continued 'generic' agreement button is out of touch with privacy concerns today and nearly all sites do not clearly or specifically detail exactly what information is collected and why.
Back in the day... . Websites were concerned about being able to provide you with services without messing up your systems or files. Today it seems like they don't care and publish 20 -30 pages of legal jargon and technical terms that discourage users from reading them in the first place. When users spend 80% effort and get 20% results they no longer need the thing that was once a helpful tool. There is some corporate greed at work here at the expense of personal security and freedoms. How many people left broadcast TV when the minutes of advertising became greater than the viewing part ? Have to be careful about that cost / benefit ratio...
Transparent Ads could be interesting program but no control of tracking / cookies is a fail. It crosses the privacy line ...