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The New York Times building. Photo: Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The New York Times will no longer use tracking pixels from Facebook and Twitter to track its users' browser history, executives tell Axios.

What's new: The company has created a marketing tool that will allow it to target potential subscribers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter without having to leverage its users' general browsing history.

  • The Times will still use trackers on a limited number of marketing pages, but it's hoping to eliminate nearly all marketing trackers in the future. It's working to make this tool work on other platforms, too.

Why it matters: "We're moving away from tracking analytics on people and towards tracking analytics on stories," says Chris Wiggins, chief data scientist at the New York Times. Wiggins says the transition will make the Times a more privacy-centric company.

"Most websites are giving up all of their users' browsing history to Facebook. The Times no longer does that."
Chris Wiggins

How it works: The new tool, called TAFI (Twitter and Facebook Interface), uses machine learning to identify which promoted articles on social media are most likely to bring in new subscribers to the New York Times when targeted to the right people.

  • The tool uses machine learning to identify people's interests on tech platforms, like what articles they like on Facebook or accounts they follow on Twitter, and then targets certain articles to those people.
  • Eventually, the technology will optimize social posts across all platforms, but for now it can only optimize posts within the ecosystem of individual platforms, says Colin Russel, the lead data scientist behind the tool.

Between the lines: The tool will also help the Times save money by cutting off its reliance on paying social platforms and other third-party ad tech companies for their ad-tracking technology.

  • Wiggins says that the company has saved 6% of its total marketing spend by cutting out those third parties. "It's cut our CPOs [cost per order] in half when tested against manual campaigns. ... Our money going a lot further in garnering more subscriptions."

What's next: The team says it's currently building out the tool's functionality to work for other platforms, like Google search, Reddit and Snapchat.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde defends comparison of Jan. 6 riot to "tourists"

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) departs a press conference on June 14. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) defended comments made during a House committee hearing in which he compared the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot to a "normal visit."

The big picture: In a heated back-and-forth during a Rules Committee meeting on Tuesday, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who sits on the select committee investigating the attack, pressed Clyde on whether he had watched the officers' testimony earlier in the day.

1 hour ago - Health

England lifts quarantine requirement for vaccinated EU, U.S. citizens

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Biden at the G7 in Cornwall last month. Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Fully vaccinated travelers from the European Union and the U.S. will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England, effective Aug. 2 at 4 a.m. local time, the U.K. government announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's a reflection of the British government's confidence in its highly successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout, despite the spread of the Delta variant. The move stands in stark contrast to the Biden administration's continued refusal to lift restrictions for travelers from the U.K. and Europe.

3 hours ago - Sports

Simone Biles is still a winner

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Simone Biles' leadership on the mat has never been questioned. After her shocking withdrawal from Tuesday's team final, she proved just as capable a leader off of it.

What happened: During the first rotation, Biles performed an uncharacteristically bad vault, appearing to lose herself in midair.