Over 6 million people have now taken an AncestryDNA test, which means that there’s DNA of over 6 million people on their database, and some of those are likely to matches to you. However the number of matches showing up could well drop in future, as AncestryDNA has just introduced a new privacy feature, and it’s already causing controversy.

Here’s their announcement …

“One of the powerful benefits of using AncestryDNA is discovering DNA Matches, potential relatives who share DNA with you. Thanks to more than 6 million people providing a little saliva, we are helping customers around the world discover new relatives and reunite with family every day. As more people take the AncestryDNA test, there are new possibilities for a discovery all the time.

We understand the power of discovery for our customers, and look for ways to improve our services to make it easier to find new connections and explore what they may mean for your family history. We also understand the critical importance of privacy and enabling our customers’ control over their own data, which is why we strive to enhance user control in our services. Today, in that spirit of continually providing customers greater control and choice, we are introducing the ability to choose of whether or not to view and be viewed by their DNA matches.

Customers can now decide if they want to have access to the list of people they may be related to and be shown as a potential family member for other customers with whom they share DNA.  While connecting family is one of the main benefits of our service, we also recognize that not everyone is open to discovering their extended family.

For existing customers, if you want to continue to see and be seen by your DNA matches, you don’t need to do anything. You still have access to your DNA Match list and you will still show up as a potential match to others and can change your preference on your DNA Settings page. If you change the setting to “no” you will no longer have access to your DNA Matches and no longer be shown as a DNA Match for others. You can change your mind at any time by going to the DNA Settings page.

We have heard from many of our customers that they quickly find one of the best ongoing benefits of our service is the opportunity to discover new family connections and seeing how connected you are to others around the world.  We will continue to invest in this capability and emphasize it as a reason to use our service. As the largest consumer DNA database, by far – close to three times the size of the next largest – we want to always provide the best opportunity to find new potential family members.

For those who’ve already taken an AncestryDNA test, note the bit that says “For existing customers, if you want to continue to see and be seen by your DNA matches, you don’t need to do anything”.