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What is a third-party cookie?

Last Updated: October 15, 2019

Third-party cookies are created by domains besides the website (or domain) that you are visiting. These are usually used for online-advertising purposes and placed in a website through adding scripts or tags. A third-party cookie is accessible on any websites that loads the third-party server’s code.

Online advertising is the most common use of third-party cookies. By adding their tags to a page, which may or may not display adverts, advertisers can track a user (or their device) across many of the websites they visit.

For example, when you visit a news outlet’s website, the website will create a first-party cookie that is saved to your website. Since this is a news outlet, like many other publisher websites, use ads developed by other websites that create a third-party cookie and save it to your computer.

Third-party cookies can be seen as an invasion of privacy to some users. This led to the creation of new privacy laws, such as GDPR and CCPA, which give users more control over what cookies are tracking them.

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