a newsletter by Molly White
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Privacy policy

Your privacy is critically important to me, Molly White. I collect as little private data as possible, according to the following principles:

  • I am thoughtful about the personal information I ask you to provide and the personal information that I collect about you through the operation of my services.
  • I store personal information for only as long as I have a reason to keep it.
  • I aim for full transparency on how I gather, use, share, and retain your personal information.

Below is my Privacy Policy, which incorporates and clarifies these principles.

What this policy covers

This Privacy Policy applies to the Citation Needed (www.citationneeded.news) website and newsletter. It does not apply to other websites or services I have created.

Information I collect

I collect some personal information about you where necessary, such as to send emails or collect subscription payments. This information includes:

Information you provide

  • Account information such as your name and email address, and preferences you set, such as which newsletters you wish to receive via email.
  • Public profile information including your name, an optional descriptor of your "expertise", and an avatar photo if you have configured one with Gravatar. This information is shown to the public if you choose to use the commenting feature, so please keep that in mind when deciding what information you would like to include.
  • Content and activity you choose to share on the website, such as text you write in comments, which are also made visible on the website to other visitors. I also store information collected via feedback forms, including the "More like this" feedback requests, and "likes" in the comments section.
  • Communications with me via email to @citationneeded.news addresses or to @mollywhite.net addresses, such as replies to email newsletters or support inquiries. You may also choose to communicate with me via other methods. I may retain a copy of these emails or other communications.

This website includes links to other websites and services. I do not control and am not responsible for the practices of those websites, and your interactions with those websites or services are subject to their policies.

This website also includes content embedded from other websites and services, such as YouTube videos or embedded social media posts. These embedded websites and services may collect additional data, subject to their policies.

Information I collect automatically

  • Log information: Like most online services, I collect information that web browsers, mobile devices, and servers typically make available, including the browser type, IP address, unique device identifiers, language preference, referring site, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information.
  • Usage information: I collect some usage information, such as the dates and times you signed up, signed in to the website, or changed your subscription preferences. Early versions of this site also collected tracking information when you opened an email or clicked a link in an email; this data is no longer collected by new posts or emails, but may exist in my systems.
  • Location information: I may determine the approximate location of your device from your IP address.
  • Cookies and other stored information: I may set and access local storage on your device, which enables per-user preferences including dark mode and sidenote display preferences. I also use cookies for signup and login purposes. I do not use cookies for tracking, marketing, or advertising purposes. This site uses Stripe, which may also set cookies from this site via embedded JavaScript.

Information I collect from other sources

  • Payment information for paying subscribers or those who choose to make payments via the "tip" feature. This includes your name, credit card information, and contact information. This is processed through Stripe. I also keep a record of your purchase and payment history for tax and accounting purposes.

How and why I collect and use information

Purposes for using information

I use information about you for the purposes listed below:

  • To provide my services. For example, to set up and maintain your account, send newsletter emails to you, provide customer service, and process payments. You can opt out of some or all newsletter emails at any time (though I will still send necessary emails pertaining to payments, or when you request a sign-in link).
  • To protect my service. For example, by detecting security incidents; detecting and protecting against malicious, deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity; fighting spam; complying with my legal obligations; and protecting the rights and property of myself and others, which may result in me, for example, declining a transaction or terminating services.
  • To fix problems with my service. For example, by monitoring, debugging, repairing, and preventing issues.
  • To customize the user experience. For example, to personalize your experience by storing user settings.
  • To communicate with you. For example, by emailing you to ask for your feedback.

A note here for those in the European Union about my legal grounds for processing information about you under EU data protection laws, which is that my use of your information is based on the grounds that:

  1. The use is necessary in order to fulfill my commitments to you under the applicable terms of service or other agreements with you or is necessary to administer your account — for example, in order to enable access to the website on your device or charge you for a paid plan; or
  2. The use is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation; or
  3. The use is necessary in order to protect your vital interests or those of another person; or
  4. I have a legitimate interest in using your information — for example, to provide and update my services; to improve my services so that I can offer you an even better user experience; to safeguard my services; to communicate with you; to understand my user retention and attrition; to monitor and prevent any problems with my services; and to personalize your experience; or
  5. You have given me your consent.

Sharing information

How I share information

  • Third-party vendors: I may share information about you with third-party vendors who need the information in order to provide their services to me, or to provide their services to you. This includes vendors that help me provide my services to you (like payment providers that process your credit and debit card information, cloud storage services, cloud services providers, and email delivery services); or those that make tools to help me run the service (like programs that help me with scheduling or email and other communications).
  • Legal and regulatory requirements: I may disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, court order, or other governmental request.
  • To protect rights, property, and others: I may disclose information about you when I believe in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of myself, third parties, or the public at large. For example, if I have a good faith belief that there is an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury, I may disclose information related to the emergency without delay.
  • With your consent: I may share and disclose information with your consent or at your direction.
  • Aggregated or de-identified information: I may share information that has been aggregated or de-identified, so that it can no longer reasonably be used to identify you. For instance, I may publish aggregate statistics about the use of my services.
  • Published support requests: If you send a request for assistance (for example, via a support email), I reserve the right to publish that request in order to clarify or respond to your request, or to help me support other users. I will remove your name, email address, and any other identifying information.

I do not sell users' data or share it with advertisers.

Information shared publicly

Information that you choose to make public is — you guessed it — disclosed publicly.

That means information like your public profile, your Gravatar image, comments, and your "likes" are or may become available to others.

Please this in mind when deciding what you would like to share publicly. You may delete comments you have posted on this website, but please be aware that people may screenshot, archive, save, or otherwise make copies of this website that retain comments and other information that is later deleted from the website.

How long I keep information

I generally discard information about you when it's no longer needed for the purposes for which I collect and use it — described in the section above on How and why I collect and use information — and I'm not legally required to keep it.

For example, I keep web server logs that record information about a visitor to the Citation Needed website, like the visitor's IP address, browser type, and operating system, for approximately 14 days. I retain the logs for this period of time in order to, among other things, analyze traffic to the website and investigate issues if something goes wrong.


While no online service is 100% secure, I work very hard to protect information about you against unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction, and take reasonable measures to do so. I monitor my service for potential vulnerabilities and attacks.


You have several choices available when it comes to information about you:

  • Limit the information that you provide: If you have an account on the website, you can choose not to provide the optional account information, profile information, and transaction and billing information. Please keep in mind that if you do not provide this information, certain features of my service — for example, commenting — may not be accessible. You can also choose to not sign up for an account, and browse the site without logging in.
  • Opt out of newsletter communications: You may opt out of receiving newsletter emails. Just click the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of any email, manage your email preferences in your account settings, or contact me to ask to be unsubscribed. If you opt out of newsletter emails, I may still send you other communications, like those about payments or if you request a sign-in link. Unsubscribing does not delete your account or data associated with it — see below for how to do that.
  • Set your browser to reject cookies: You can usually choose to set your browser to remove or reject browser cookies before using the Citation Needed website. This will prevent you from signing up or signing in.
  • Close your account: You can close your account by contacting me and requesting it be deleted. Please keep in mind that I will continue to retain some information after closing your account, as described in "How long I keep information" above — for example, when that information is reasonably needed to comply with (or demonstrate my compliance with) legal obligations such as law enforcement requests, or reasonably needed for my legitimate business interests.

Your rights

If you are located in certain parts of the world, including some US states and countries that fall under the scope of the European General Data Protection Regulation (aka the "GDPR"), you may have certain rights regarding your personal information, like the right to request access to or deletion of your data.

European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you are located in a country that falls under the scope of the GDPR, data protection laws give you certain rights with respect to your personal data, subject to any exemptions provided by the law, including the rights to:

  • Request access to your personal data;
  • Request correction or deletion of your personal data;
  • Object to my use and processing of your personal data;
  • Request that I limit my use and processing of your personal data; and
  • Request portability of your personal data.

You also have the right to make a complaint to a government supervisory authority.

US privacy laws

Laws in some US states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia, require me to provide residents with additional information about the categories of personal information I collect and share, where I get that personal information, and how and why I use it. You'll find that information in this section (if you are a California resident, please note that this is the Notice at Collection I am required to provide you under California law).

In the last 12 months, I collected the following categories of personal information, depending on the services used:

  • Identifiers (like your name, contact information, and device and online identifiers);
  • Commercial information (your billing information and purchase history, for example);
  • Internet or other electronic network activity information (such as your usage of my services, like the actions you take on the website);
  • Geolocation data (such as your location based on your IP address);
  • Audio, electronic, visual or similar information (such as your profile picture if you use Gravatar).

You can find more information about what I collect and sources of that information in the Information I collect section above.

I collect personal information for the business and commercial purposes described in the How and why I collect and use information section. And I share this information with the categories of third parties described in the Sharing information section. I retain this information for the length of time described in the How long I keep information section.

In some US states you have additional rights subject to any exemptions provided by your state's respective law, including the right to:

  • Request a copy of the specific pieces of information I collect about you and, if you're in California, to know the categories of personal information I collect, the categories of business or commercial purpose for collecting and using it, the categories of sources from which the information came, and the categories of third parties I share it with;
  • Request deletion of personal information I collect or maintain;
  • Request correction of personal information I collect or maintain;
  • Opt out of the sale or sharing of personal information;
  • Receive a copy of your information in a readily portable format; and
  • Not receive discriminatory treatment for exercising your rights.

Right to opt out

I never sell your personal information.

I may share your information as necessary with third-party service providers to provide my services to you.

I do not collect or process your sensitive (and potentially sensitive) personal information except where it is strictly necessary to provide you with this service, where the processing is not for the purpose of inferring characteristics about you, or for other purposes that do not require an option to limit under California law. I don't knowingly sell or share personal information of those under 16.

Contacting me about these rights

You can contact me via email to support@citationneeded.news. When you contact me about one of your rights under this section, I'll need to verify that you are the right person before I disclose or delete anything. For example, if you are a user, I will need you to contact me from the email address associated with your account.

Appeals process for rights requests denials

In some circumstances I may deny your request to exercise one of these rights. For example, if I cannot verify that you are the account owner I may deny your request to access the personal information associated with your account.

In the event that I deny your request, in some US states (Colorado, Connecticut, and Virginia) you may refer the denial to the state attorney general if you believe the denial is in conflict with your legal rights.

How to reach me

If you have a question about this Privacy Policy, or you would like to contact me about any of the rights mentioned in the Your rights section above, please contact me via email to support@citationneeded.news.

Other things you should know

Transferring information

I am based in the United States and process personal data here.

Privacy Policy changes

Although most changes are likely to be minor, I may change this Privacy Policy from time to time. I encourage visitors to frequently check this page for any changes to its Privacy Policy. If I make changes, I will notify you by revising the change log below, and, in some cases, I may provide additional notice (like adding a statement to the website banner or sending you a notification through email). Your further use of the services after a change to the Privacy Policy will be subject to the updated policy.


This Privacy Policy was adapted from the one used by WordPress, and the one used by 404 Media. Both are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. This privacy policy is released under the same license, too, so feel free to copy it, share it, or adapt it for your own use.