|Type of business||Private|
|Founded||October 30, 2007|
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, U.S|
|Key people||Daniel Ha (CEO)|
Jason Yan (CTO)
|Launched||October 30, 2007|
This article needs to be updated.(July 2020)
Disqus (//) is an American blog comment hosting service for web sites and online communities that use a networked platform. The company's platform includes various features, such as social integration, social networking, user profiles, spam and moderation tools, analytics, email notifications, and mobile commenting. It was founded in 2007 by Daniel Ha and Jason Yan as a Y Combinator startup.
In 2011, Disqus ranked No. 2 in Quantcast's U.S. networks with 151 million monthly unique U.S. visits. Disqus was featured on CNN, The Daily Telegraph, and IGN, and about 750,000 blogs and web sites.
Disqus was first developed in the summer of 2007 as a Y Combinator startup headed by Daniel Ha and Jason Yan, who were undergraduates at the University of California, Davis. Disqus was launched on October 30, 2007.
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Disqus operates on the ad-supported freemium financial model: the service is free to use for both commenters and small web sites, but displays ads. Web sites can pay fees to hide ads and unlock additional features.
In November 2010, Disqus began officially offering three add-on packages for web sites:
Starting July 2012, Disqus offered just two premium packages, the VIP package and a single-sign-on-only package for $99/month.
Starting in March 2013, Premium packages were phased out.
On January 4, 2017, Disqus announced new premium packages rolling out in March 2017. A later blog post clarified that over 95% of sites using Disqus, mostly personal blogs and non-commercial sites, will be unaffected by the new premium model.
Both the Disqus site and comment system were translated into more than sixty languages in 2011. With the introduction of the new Disqus in 2012, language support dropped to seven languages and even though Disqus accepts applications for new languages, only one has been added since bringing the current number of supported languages to eight as of 2013[update].
Criticism, privacy, and security concerns
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutrality by separating out potentially negative information. (November 2012)
As with other embedded web widgets, such as like buttons, the Disqus widget acts as a web bug which tracks a user's activities, even when they are not logged in, across different sites that use the Disqus commenting system. Information tracked by Disqus, which may be disclosed to third parties, includes pseudonymous analytics data, such as a user's IP address, their web browser version and installed add-ons, and their referring pages and exit links. Although these data are referred to by Disqus as "Non-Personally Identifiable Information", such data, when aggregated, has been shown to be usable for de-anonymizing users.
Disqus has also been criticized for publishing its registered users' entire commenting histories, along with a list of connected blogs and services, on the publicly viewable user profile pages. The option to keep profile activity private was later added.
Disqus also was criticized for not giving users control over who follows them. Prior to 2014, any user could follow any other user, but a user being followed could not control or block who was following them, which led to harassment among some users.
If Disqus shuts down, hundreds of millions of comments would be wiped away from a wide range of sites, since by the very nature of the service, comment content is not being managed locally by sites implementing the service. However, it is possible for site administrators to export all of their comments as an XML document which can then be ported into other commenting systems.
Third party service Disqussearch can be used to search through all comments by username. This is necessary for viewing old comments of users. On the Disqus site, the user can only load small batches of successively older comments one by one by scrolling down.
2013 security breach
In 2013, a Swedish group called Researchgruppen obtained and exposed a large number of anonymous Disqus identities through the application programming interface (API). The group cooperated with the Bonnier tabloid Expressen, who subsequently visited some of the commentators in their homes, confronting them with allegedly racist, misogynic, and derogatory sentiments. Researchgruppen said their database contained millions of comments from Disqus users around the world who are at risk of de-anonymization. In March 2014, Expressen and Researchgruppen won the investigative reporting award Guldspaden.
October 2017 security breach
On October 6, 2017, Disqus announced that a snapshot of its database from 2012, containing 17.5 million users' email addresses, login names and sign-up dates from between 2007–2012, had been exposed. The data dump also included, for about a third of the affected accounts, passwords that had been salted and hashed with SHA-1.
Previously, if a user attempted to delete their comment, Disqus "anonymized" their comment by changing the author to a Guest user, without removing the content of the body itself. The only recourse at that time was to flag the comment, contact the site moderator to delete the anonymized Guest comment, or to remember to edit out the body of the comment before deleting a comment.
Disqus automatically adds affiliate referral code to links on the containing webpage, and converts plain text into links in order to add affiliate referral codes (this can be turned off). Disqus also injects untrusted and potentially dangerous third party advertising code into containing webpages.
In 2021, Norwegian Data Protection Agency announced intent to fine Disqus 2.5 million euro for failures to comply with requirements of European General Data Protection Regulation. Allegedly, Disqus was collecting user private data and sharing it with advertisers without obtaining consent from websites using Disqus and users visiting those sites.
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