Whether it was the intent of ShareThis or not, the nature of the update coerces users into making a decision that sacrifices the privacy of readers. With over 100,000 active installs according to WordPress.org, the popular plugin is used by everyone from casual bloggers and small businesses to large publishers. Even if just a fraction of these users blindly hit the accept button in order to make the message disappear, that would lead to thousands of websites exposing visitors to adware and other threats.
In a WordPress.org forum thread, the company responded by saying the service message would be able to be closed in the next update.
The promise was made over two months ago when the new policy went into effect, but the service message can still not be closed without either agreeing or removing the plugin. ShareThis senior director Nigel Tunnacliffe gave the following statement to Comparitech:
Backgrading and removing the nag message
Another forum thread on WordPress.org instructs users on how to backgrade the plugin. Additionally users can install a separate plugin to block specific plugin updates, which can be used to prevent the nagging service message.
The older version 6.15 can also be found here. Simply remove the old plugin and install this one. When that’s done, install this plugin and check Simple Share Buttons and any other plugins for which you want to block updates.
We may share non-aggregate, non-personally identifiable Usage Information, including audience segments, with third party advertisers and publishers to assist us and them in delivering relevant, targeted advertising that is aligned with user interests. For example, these companies may use such information (e.g., click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you. Your preferences collected through this process may be used to influence which types of marketing messages you receive across sites that we work with. While using the ShareThis Services, We may place third party advertisers’ and publishers’ cookies and pixels on their behalf regarding Usage Information.
Additionally, the ShareThis terms of service note that the company may modify the terms at any time without notifying users. It is the responsibility of the users to review them regularly.