A new “option” appeared in the accounts of LinkedIn users, providing LinkedIn permission to sell their users’ names and photos in “social media” advertising without asking its users about it first.
Here’s what the option says:
LinkedIn may sometimes pair an advertiser’s message with social content from LinkedIn’s network in order to make the ad more relevant. When LinkedIn members recommend people and services, follow companies, or take other actions, their name/photo may show up in related ads shown to you. Conversely, when you take these actions on LinkedIn, your name/photo may show up in related ads shown to LinkedIn members. By providing social context, we make it easy for our members to learn about products and services that the LinkedIn network is interacting with.
* LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising.
Initially I thought the anger of some LinkedIn users was misplaced, as I put my information on LinkedIn precisely because I want people to see it. Then I decided that there’s a difference between someone finding me for a business purpose and someone finding me in an advertisement. It means any discretion you might have had when searching for a job is gone! Imagine if your boss sees your face pop up in an ad for another company, saying you recently checked it out. Not too good!
If you’d like to disable this new “feature,” click on this link and it should take you to the appropriate page. If for some reason that doesn’t work, go to Settings-Account-Manage Social Advertising. You can find the “settings” option by hovering your mouse over your name in the top-right corner of the page.
(hat tip, Brand Impact)
Update 11 August: LinkedIn responds, and does so in a positive matter. Turns out the company’s plans aren’t as bad as was being imagined. I’m impressed by how the company has listened to the concerns and addressed them.