Recently I received a slew of emails from people alerting me to changes in LinkedIn’s security settings that supposedly affect your privacy on LinkedIn.
The email goes something like this:
Linkedin has very quietly introduced some new settings that potentially seriously affect your privacy and your ability to prevent unwanted emails (spam). These new settings are defaulted ON and include allowing Linkedin to use profile information, names and photos in third party advertising. Please see the links below for opting out. You might want to consider alerting your contacts on Linkedin.
Regardless of how old or new any of these settings are, it is important to know they exist, understand what they mean, and make the decision to leave them at their default status of on or turn them off completely.
So come with me and take a walk through the land mine that is LinkedIn’s communication/privacy settings!
Manage Social Advertising
This setting determines if your name or photo can be shown in an ad on LinkedIn.
The real question is what do these ads look like and how will my likeness or name be featured?
Here is an advertisement example LinkedIn provided back in August on their blog:
You may wish to opt out because you follow a competitor on LinkedIn and you don’t want your name or image used to potentially advertise them! This of course is worst case scenario.
I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn and I can’t remember seeing either of these advertisement types. I am sure they are out there but the chance of me popping up advertising something seems awfully slim so I am going to allow this setting to stay on.
Manage Enhanced Advertising
This setting simply means that advertisers can target ads that are relevant and tailored to you based on your industry, company-size, etc… This setting has been around for ages and I wouldn’t worry too much about it. LinkedIn makes money via advertising. You are going to see ads regardless. At least by having this checked, the ads you see will be something you might find interesting. My recommendation is to keep it checked.
Data sharing with third party applications
This setting is what allows 3rd party sites to access your data using LinkedInís API. You may be wondering, who are these 3rd party sites? Well, they are applications that YOU either installed or granted access. This could be Twitter, Flavors.me, Slideshare, etc… My recommendation is to leave this checked. By sharing data with applications, you are getting a much richer user experience and can do more with your LinkedIn account.
Turn on/off Partner InMail
Partner InMail is where you allow recruiters or advertisers the ability to send you Inmail messages as part of a hiring or marketing campaign. It’s important to note that this is for LARGE companies with large budgets sending out INMAILS. This setting doesn’t stop a lone recruiter or marketer sending out mass messages to his or her connections.
I unchecked these boxes in my settings but I don’t see any issue keeping them checked. Will you get more email? Yes, but only slightly. The messages will be targeted and you may even find that the information being shared is desirable.
It’s important to go through LinkedIn’s settings and make sure you understand what is going on behind the scenes. Most of the settings, although they sound quite nefarious, are actually quite benign. LinkedIn makes money through advertising. They are going to target you with ads. That’s what allows us to partake in this fantastic social network at a free to rather low cost.
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