So I just saw a tweet from Avinash Kaushik about three settings you will want to change in LinkedIn to keep your profile information from being shared with third party sites. I am pretty big on privacy and controlling access to my various online profiles, so I was surprised to read about this and took action right away!
Item One: Social Advertising
According to LinkedIn’s own preferences box:
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.
What does it mean? It means that advertisers could use your profile information alongside their ads if you have interacted with them in some way. Just because I follow someone or a company, does not mean I endorse them.
How to turn it off: The default is that you are opted in to this. To opt out, go to your Settings Tab > Accounts >Manage Social Advertising and uncheck the box that says “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising.”
Item Two: Data Sharing with Third Party Applications
What does it mean? It means that you are giving LinkedIn permission to share your profile data with undisclosed third party applications.
How to tun it off: To change this setting, go to your Settings Tab > Groups, Companies & Applications > Data sharing with third-party applications and uncheck the box that says “Yes, share my data with third party applications.”
Item Three: Partner InMail
According to LinkedIn’s own preference box:
LinkedIn Partner InMails are messages from our partners with informational or promotional content that is part of a marketing or hiring campaign. These Partner InMails are sent to LinkedIn users based on non-personal information, such as the title of your current position, your primary industry, or your region, and are not from individual recruiters using LinkedIn. Your name and e-mail address will not be disclosed to LinkedIn’s marketing partners.
What does it mean? It means that you are agreeing to allow LinkedIn’s marketing partners to send you unsolicited emails.
How to turn it off: To change this setting, got to your Settings Tab > Email > Turn On/Off Partner InMail and uncheck the box that says “LinkedIn’s marketing partners may send you informational and promotional messages.” and uncheck the box that says “LinkedIn’s hiring campaign partners may send you informational and promotional messages.”
The problem isn’t necessarily that LinkedIn wants to start making itself more social – which it clearly does. The problem is, it automatically opts users in, without any notice. Have they not learned anything from Facebook and their privacy outcries after making similar changes to their network? I realize that the point of being on a network like LinkedIn or Facebook is to share information and I am all for that. But, I am also for utter transparency in what is being shared and for having control over what parts of my profiles are shared and with whom. I don’t think I’m alone in this!