Linked In strikes out

According to this piece in Digital Trend, LinkedIn has “opted” 100 million of us into sharing private information within advertisements. This includes posting our names and photos as advertisers’ helpers.

“When a LinkedIn user views a third-party advertisement on the social network, they will see user profile pictures and names of connections if that connection has recommended or followed a brand. Any time that a user follows a brand, they unwittingly become a cheerleader for the company or organization if it advertises through LinkedIn.”

And in case that doesn't surprise you, how about this:

“In order to opt out of social advertising, the LinkedIn user has to take four steps to escape third-party advertisements:

“Hover over the user name in the top right hand corner of any LinkedIn page and click ‘Settings’. On the Settings page, click ‘Account’. On the Account tab, click ‘Manage Social Advertising’. Uncheck the box next to “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising.” and click the save button.”

What a mistake.

I know there are many who think that if Facebook can take the huddled masses to the cleaners, why shouldn't everyone?

It seems obvious that the overwhelming majority of people who participate in Facebook are still a few years away from understanding and reacting to what they have got themselves into.

But Linked In's membership is a lot more savvy about the implications of being on the site – and why they are sharing information there. Much of their participation has to do with future opportunities, and everyone is sensitive about the need to control and predict how they will be evaluated later in their career. Until yesterday I for one had been convinced that Linked In was smart enough to understand this.

But apparently not.  And I think it will turn out that many of the professionals who until now have been happy to participate will choke on the potential abuse of their professional information and reputation – and Linked In's disregard for their trust.

My conclusion?  Linked in has just thrown down the gauntlet and challenged us, as a community of professionals, to come up with safe and democratic ways to network.

This much is obvious: we need a network that respects the rights of the people in it. Linked In just lost my vote.

5 thoughts on “Linked In strikes out

  1. there were a LOT of banners etc on the site before they turned this on, but like every other privacy-affecting setting it should have been opt-in, not opt-out. I'll give LinkedIn kudos for hearing the complaints and changing the programme today; no more names or photos appear now.

  2. Hmmmm I tried a few times to switch it off and kept getting an error saying, ‘something unexpected has happened’ my conspiracy theory gene is buzzing. I'll try again later thanks for this Kim. We really need to push ‘opt in’ for these things, but then that wouldn't be playing the game would it…

  3. The long-run solution is to move to open source, federated social networks. Currently, they are rough around the edges compared to the proprietary networks. But if you put your energy into federated networks, they will improve. Just like proprietary networks have improved as a result of your effort. Yes, your effort. You as a user provide the energy to maintain and improve any service. So, wherever you direct your energy, will improve the fastest.

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