Versions of Yahoo Messenger released prior to 3 December 2015 are no longer supported. Please upgrade to the new Yahoo Messenger. If you are using a version of Yahoo Messenger released prior to 3 December 2015, the privacy module below is applicable.

If you are using a version of Yahoo Messenger released on or after 3 December 2015, click here to view the applicable privacy module.

Yahoo Messenger allows you to exchange instant messages with your online friends.

You must be a registered Yahoo user in order to use Yahoo Messenger. Yahoo Messenger establishes a connection to the Internet when it is active—much like a browser does—in order for communications to be received and transmitted.

Information Collection and Use Practices

  • Yahoo Messenger automatically checks for updates to Yahoo software.
  • Yahoo Messenger’s auto-update feature offers the ability to download the next available version in the background.
    • When the file is ready for installation, you’ll be given the choice to install immediately or wait until another time.
    • Yahoo Messenger offers the auto update feature by default. You have the option to be notified prior to auto-update as well.
      • In versions 8.1 or greater, you can change your auto-update options by going to the Messenger menu, choosing "Preferences", then "Alerts & Sounds".
      • Prior to upgrading to version 8.1 or greater, you will have the opportunity to select this option one time when notice is provided of the new feature. The option can be changed after that point by upgrading to version 8.1 or greater (and selecting the menu option mentioned above) or by selecting the check-box enabling the background download when an auto-alert is presented to you.
  • You can establish a friend list within Messenger and be added as a friend to other members' lists.
  • By default, your online status will be visible to other Messenger members who have you on their friends list and on web pages with an online presence indicator.
    • You can choose to appear offline by signing in as invisible.
    • You can selectively appear online or offline to specific friends or groups of friends on Messenger using the Stealth Settings option.
    • You can choose to always appear offline on web pages by editing your preferences in Messenger or Yahoo Profiles.
      • In Messenger, choose Messenger - Preferences - Privacy and uncheck the box to allow Yahoo web sites to show when you are online.
      • In Yahoo Profiles settings, check the box to hide your online status from other users.
  • You have certain choices about whether to add friends, be added as a friend, or ignore other members.
  • Yahoo does not save your instant messages, but we do make some functionality, such as archiving and the ability to print and save messages, available to members so that they may retain records of their instant messaging communications.
    • By default, Yahoo Messenger will archive your message history for the current session, until you sign out. When that that session ends, the message archive will be deleted.
    • To change your archiving preferences in Messenger, choose Messenger - Preferences - Archive.
    • Please be aware that even if you choose not to save your message history, members you correspond with may opt to use the functionality available in their version of Messenger to save the communications.
  • Messenger automatically identifies phone numbers and email addresses included in messages so you can quickly save them to your Yahoo Address Book or take other actions, such as sending an email. This is a function carried out by the Messenger client on your computer and is not done by Yahoo servers.
  • The text tagging by the automatic highlighting option in LiveWords takes place entirely on your own computer. Yahoo does not read the text of your messages in order to make LiveWords suggestions. A list of possible suggestions is routinely downloaded to your machine based on the categories and interest levels you have specified. During your IM conversations, the Yahoo Messenger application on your machine compares the text of messages you send and receive against the list of possible suggestions.
  • Messenger gives you the opportunity to report instant messages you receive as spam. If you choose to report spam, Yahoo will be sent information about the conversation including the Yahoo ID of the member being reported, text of the conversation, and your Yahoo ID.
  • When you invite someone to use Messenger using our form (as opposed to add someone as a friend to your friend list), you will need to provide that person's email address and a message (optional). Information collected on that form will only be used to send an email on your behalf and will not be used for any marketing purposes.

Information Sharing and Disclosure Practices

  • By using Messenger, you may choose to make some of your personal information public or you may choose to share some of your personal information with others.
  • If you post personal information online that is accessible to the public, you may receive unsolicited messages from other parties in return.
  • Messenger sometimes uses a peer-to-peer connection during its operation, including times when you may be using it for instant messaging (text conversations), file sharing and webcam streaming. Peer-to-peer means that your computer connects directly to the other user's computer in the conversation without needing to go through Yahoo servers. As such, your IP address is available to users you share a peer-to-peer connection with.

Practices Regarding Your Ability to Update or Delete Information

  • You can edit your Messenger settings and preferences through the Messenger menu.


This page describes current Yahoo practices with respect to this particular service. This information may change as Yahoo revises this service by adding or removing features or using different service providers. To find out how Yahoo treats your personal information, please visit our Privacy Policy.



To help make your experiences with Yahoo more relevant, we employ interest-based ads. Manage your interest-based categories, or opt-out of all categories, on our opt-out tool.    


To find out how Yahoo treats your personal information, please visit our Privacy Policy. This page describes current Yahoo practices with respect to this product. Information on this page may change as Yahoo adds or removes features.

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