There has been a flurry of activity this week after it was revealed that LinkedIn was allowing certain profile information to be incorporated into social ads that are displayed with the LinkedIn user interface.
The blog post that seemed to end up in my inbox the most was this one from Steve at Connection Agent. It seemed the storm clouds were brewing for LinkedIn
As a keen user of LinkedIn I was aware these changes were coming and once the new features went live I did uncheck this box and was advising friends etc to do the same.
At the heart of these changes was the use of the company follow feature to indicate some form of endorsement of an advertiser or their product.
I follow 73 companies – but does this mean I endorse them? Absolutely not!
Has LinkedIn Done Wrong?
First of all, I do not believe LinkedIn set out to do anything malicious, nor was trying to slip through a privacy change unannounced – as I noted above I was aware these changes were coming – though my alertness may be due to the fact I’m a keen observer of LinkedIn due to the public workshops I run on the product – I’m seen plenty of comments that indicate these changes caught many by surprise.
Secondly, given how quickly the issue rose up I personally thought LinkedIn would take action, a point I made to fellow TEC member (and leading digital marketing expert) Tim Martin on Friday via email:
I suspect LI will probably change this overnight given how quickly it’s spreading…
And that’s exactly what has happened. LinkedIn reacted and quickly made a number of small but significant changes to social ads.
I suggest you read this update post from LinkedIn’s Ryan Roslansky
Has this changed my perspective?
Based on what I read in Ryan Roslansky’s post I’m comfortable with how this feature is now structured and as such I’ve gone back into settings and checked this box.
What Should You Do?
If you have a conservative position in terms of privacy I’d recommend you review how this option is currently set with a view to ensuring the specific box is unchecked.
I’ve outlined the steps to do this here. This post will explain where to go to review whether social ads participation is checked or unchecked.
Privacy is your domain. LinkedIn gives you great flexibility in how you manage your privacy settings.
If you’ve got any follow up questions, feel free to use comments to post them or alternatively – reach out via LinkedIn here