How LinkedIn is Exploiting Your Name, Your Photo, and Your Inbox

Broken glass

Have you checked your LinkedIn settings lately? I hadn’t, until Adriana Beal pointed out this article from Business Insider.

It turns out that LinkedIn is automatically opting you in to use your photo and your activity for their social advertising purposes.

Once I found that they could use my photo (without an OK, or remuneration), I decided to look further and see what else they were doing.

Quite a lot

Turns out they could:

1) use my photo
2) show me ads on other sites
3) send me new product announcements
4) send me invites to participate in research
5) send me partner inmail with more advertisements from their marketing and hiring partners
6) share my data with third party applications


Some of these things are more obnoxious than others, but I never gave permission for any of them. It was all done behind my back – no disclosure, no easy way to see it.

Control your privacy

In fact, if you want to manage your privacy, you’ll need to check in three different places and change, and save, each one separately.

First, login, and go to settings (it’s on the upper right of your screen).

Then go to  “email preferences.”  In the second column, on the right, you’ll see settings for LinkedIn announcements, market research invites, and partner inmail.

Next, click on “groups/companies, and applications. ” There’s an item called “privacy controls” on the right.  Click that to control what information gets shared with third party applications.

Finally, go to “account.” There’s another “privacy controls” setting here (why two?).  Click on “social advertising” and turn that off. Then go back and turn off  “enhanced advertising.”

That should do it.

To be fair, their marketing team may have drunk too much of their own Koolaid, but their customer service was very helpful recently when I had a problem.

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