What does the Yahoo-Verizon deal mean for users of Flickr, Tumblr and other services?

Verizon’s deal to acquire Yahoo’s main Internet properties for $4.48 billion was finalized on Tuesday, marking the latest major merger to reshape the media-telecom landscape. But users of Yahoo’s big consumer services probably won’t see any huge changes, at least immediately.

Popular Yahoo brands including Tumblr, Flickr, Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Mail will be will be combined with other Verizon-owned sites, which the company acquired when it bought AOL in 2015, to create a new subsidiary called Oath.

Experts see the move as way for Verizon to place ads across its digital network and compete with Facebook and Google’s ad programs.

Here’s what it means for Yahoo users.

Will I be able to keep my Yahoo email address?

Almost certainly, yes. Yahoo Mail was one of Yahoo’s most popular services and it’s unlikely Verizon would want to upset this large user base by forcing them to change email addresses.

What will happen to my Flickr photos?

Your Flickr photos should be safe. Again, the last thing Verizon wants to do is anger its new customers by changing access to their photos. A Verizon spokeswoman said there are no immediate plans to change pricing.

Will my favorite sites be re-branded?

On Oath’s new corporate homepage, the company says, “You won’t see Oath everywhere. We lead with the brands — yours and ours.” This would seem to suggest that Verizon plans to keep its newly acquired sites largely intact.

It’s been reported that Verizon plans to lay off 2,100 employees, however, so we’ll have to wait and see how and if this has any effect on its services.

What about privacy?

Yahoo had a poor record of protecting user information, as seen in security breaches that affected more than 1 billion accounts. While Verizon may be more equipped to keep consumer data safe from hackers, it may also be more willing to share that data with advertisers.

Verizon’s privacy policy says it “does not identify Verizon customers individually,” but some consumer advocates worry this isn’t completely accurate. They argue that digital ad campaigns have become so highly targeted to individual users that the data being shared is in effect no longer anonymous.

ethan.varian@latimes.com

@ethanvarian

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