LinkedIn makes controversial change to privacy settings

The professional networking site last week made a change to default privacy settings that made every user’s photograph and name available to be used for third-party advertising. The issue of default privacy settings is one that concerns many users of , but until now has not been associated with LinkedIn.

What has LinkedIn changed?

By default, LinkedIn introduced a ticked box for every user that said “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising”.

This change was put in place in June, but was only widely reported in the last week, amid speculation that this setting is illegal in some countries where LinkedIn is used.

Some legal experts are claiming that privacy settings should always default in favour of preserving users’ privacy, rather than requiring an opt-out. There are also concerns about how well LinkedIn publicised the changes and their potential consequences.

LinkedIn’s U-turn

Amidst the criticism, and announced that it was changing its settings again, this time removing the photo element from adverts.

However, at the time of writing, the agreement in user’s settings still refers to names and photos and remains ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’.

How to change your settings

If you don’t want your profile details to be used in third party advertising on LinkedIn, here are the steps to take to amend your settings:

  1. Log in to LinkedIn.
  2. Your name will appear in the top right corner of the screen, when you hover over it will bring up a list of options. Click “Settings”.
  3. Select “Account” (lower left, with shield icon).
  4. Go to “Privacy Controls” and select “Manage Social Advertising”.
  5. This will bring up a pop up box explaining the social advertising that LinkedIn uses.
  6. Deselect the tick box and click Save.

Other LinkedIn privacy settings

While you are thinking about your privacy preferences, there are some other settings you may wish to review and amend:

- Account – turn on/off enhanced advertising to control whether adverts shown to you can be tailored to your profile

- Groups, Companies & Applications – turn on/off data sharing with third party applications

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