LinkedIn Privacy Settings

LinkedIn Security Settings Privacy

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.

The settings they refer to are:

This email has been making the rounds for a few months now. None of these settings are brand spanking new. In fact, when LinkedIn added the Manage Social Advertising setting last August, they had a banner message alerting users that the privacy policy changed AND they posted a blog entry explaining the setting and their reasoning behind it.

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:

Here’s another example I found online:

via Marketaire

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,, 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.

In Conclusion…

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.

So what do you think? Leave your comments below!

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  1. Thanks for explaining this Donna. There seem to be so many Nooks and Crannies in LinkedIn it is difficult to keep up and understand them all. You have explained these settings in a clear and straightforward way that has really helped me learn a bit more about what LinkedIn has to offer

  2. Hi Donna,

    The “manage social advertising” setting no longer exists (at least not on my account). The only setting that is listed says “manage advertising preferences” w/a box that reads “LinkedIn may show me ads on third-party websites” – Am I no longer allowed to turn off the manage social advertising setting so LinkedIn can’t use my pic for their advertising purposes? Or is the setting “manage advertising preferences” the same as “manage social advertising”?

    1. Hi Tristan! LinkedIn just made those changes! I will have to update this blog entry. Thank you for letting me know. It’s amazing how fast things can change in less than 24 hours!

  3. Hi Donna,

    Can you advise if further changes have been made to Linked In privacy settings? Further to Tristan’s comment, I don’t see the option to turn off the social advertising setting? Does that mean they are not doing it any more?



  4. Hi Nicola! It appears that on January 30th LinkedIn pulled the Social Advertising setting. LinkedIn hasn’t made any mention of this removal. I can only assume that they have discontinued this form of advertising OR they are not allowing us to opt out anymore. As soon as I learn more, I will post it.

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