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LinkedIn Hurries To Address Privacy Stumble 58

swandives writes "LinkedIn will make changes to a 'social advertising' feature that has been criticized for using members' names and photographs in advertisements on its website. Amid mounting criticism, the social networking service says it has been 'listening' to its users and 'could have communicated' its intentions with the new ad feature more clearly. As a result, it said, it will change how the advertisements appear. If a LinkedIn user 'follows' a company or service on LinkedIn, the ad feature can display the user's name and photo in advertisements for that company. LinkedIn said its goal was to deliver more useful ads, but some LinkedIn users complained it was a privacy violation, particularly because they have to opt out of the feature rather than opt in. It will be interesting to see whether the changes affect stocks, especially since the network's IPO in May, when shares closed at more than double the initial price, prompting concerns over another dot-com bubble."
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LinkedIn Hurries To Address Privacy Stumble

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  • I deleted my account months ago yet I still get emails and 'friend' requests from them. They are somehow worse than Facebook. I am not at all surprised by this move. They are incredibly user hostile.

    • by zget ( 2395308 )
      But that's because of the people who want to add you there. They give them your email and LinkedIn sends you the friend request as per your friends wishes. Facebook, Google+, and every other site on the internet that has invites/add friends would do the same.
      • Think about it. If you delete your account, does that mean you have still opted in to invites still?

        When I deleted my FB I had to remove my email elsewhere on the site. Ridiculous reeally.

        • by zget ( 2395308 )
          You aren't opted-in before you join either. It's not the site sending those invites, it's the users who invite you.
          • The invite emails leave the social network's mailservers.

            Social networks are not common carriers. They are not like the postal mail service who are not responsible for the letters they deliver.

            Your ID is suspiciously high.

            • by zget ( 2395308 )
              Yes, technically the emails come from their mail servers. I actually wrote that in the message first, but then I thought slashdotters would be wise enough not to nitpick and to understand that it's the person sending you the invitation and it doesn't matter so much where they technically come from. How wrong I was..
      • Bullshit. I get linkedin's own spam not just invites. They are just a bad company, stop defending them. Thanks.

    • They are somehow worse than Facebook.

      This is a common theme among failing business. They become large bureaucracies hungry for cash and they will cannibalize their customer base in a vain attempt to cling to profitability. Can't wait for a failing Facebook, I need my own Database of Everyone® available now for the low low price of $100.

    • Like also-ran MMORPGS, LinkedIn is JADSNS - just another damn social networking site - that requires YADPAUTR - yet another damn username and password - and wants you to DPI - divulge personal information - so they can SMSS - sell moar stupid shit.

      My, look how far we haven't come!

      Also, penis!

  • Any info you put into a social networking site is then at the site's mercy. The same thing happens with Facebook, they'd roll out a new feature that would expose more of your private information unless you intervened.

    And social networks rely on this erosion of privacy to grow, they need you to share more info, and the easiest way to do this is to expose "private" information you've entered and then ask for forgiveness.

    And this is why I've finally decided that I'll never use any kind of centralized social networking system. If I were to use any such thing, it would be something like a private instance of Diaspora that I have full control over.

    • by zget ( 2395308 )

      If I were to use any such thing, it would be something like a private instance of Diaspora that I have full control over.

      So your suggestion is for everyone to create their own isolated "social network" which they have full control over, and hence are the only persons there? What about if you just don't put stuff on the internet that you don't want there?

      • That's not how it works...your profile could be made accessible on others just the same as it would be on a centralized service, but your information would be privately controlled so there wouldn't be any oddly convenient privacy slip-ups. Here's a quick explanation: []

        • Still doesn't help all that much if you have less-privacy-savvy friends that are inclined to post a lot of crap about you on THEIR social networking sites.
          My solution: don't have any friends. You don't need a social network, and nobody will be posting about you!
    • ... advantage? Any picture you post publicly is "at the mercy" of search engines, and your picture is then at the mercy [] of anyone with any scheme in mind to use you for advertising, a news article, or to make you look like a complete ass like at the link I just provided.

      This is not a threat to privacy. A threat to privacy is pictures that you don't post publicly getting out into the public. The pictures you post publicly that are reused has nothing to do with privacy.

      I would argue that the advantage of s

      • This isn't about posting inappropriate public pictures, this is about posting pics that are supposed to remain private (maybe among a certain group) that then are made public by a new "feature."

        • This sounds like Facebook using pictures in ads to friends who already have access to those pictures. I remember when that happened, and the laughable results of wives showing up in the dating ads of their husbands' dating ads. Same idea here, except that if the pictures made it outside the visible group, it sounds like a glitch.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      It works a lot better if you realize there's no such thing as privacy on social networks.

      First - a social network's goal is to get information. Lots of information. They do this by making it appealing for you to give that information.

      Second - a large percentage of people are reluctant to give up certain amounts of information - perhaps their upbringing or other norms make it difficult.

      To achieve both the first (get as much data as possible) and second (people may not willingly give up that data), they intro

  • A proposal (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Seems like the best way to nip this one in the bud is to spam linkedin with fake profiles for serial killers, terrorists, and dictators, and then follow lots of companies. "Hi, I'm Jeffrey Dahmer and I approve of this product or service."

    • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gma i l .com> on Friday August 12, 2011 @09:41AM (#37067614) Journal

      Muammar Gaddafi - Looking to hire mercenaries! Previous civilian slaughter experience would be an asset.

      • Dear Muammar,

        Hello, I am a former associate with Brown and Burnslaufner. Recently, our main clients MPAA and RIAA have severely decreased their use of Cease and Desist orders, thus causing my downsizing at the law firm. I would love for an opportunity to work with you.

        I have experience in:
        - Pain and Misery
        - Beating opponents into submission using legal mumbo-jumbo that keeps the courts on "our" side.
        - Persuading politicians that our actions are a crisis
        - Raping profits from the elderly and children

        I think

  • I don't get LinkedIn, what's the point? Is it to keep in touch with old work colleagues? If so, then I either have their email address or contact them on Facebook. If I don't, then I guess I really didn't care about you when I worked with you all those years.

    The only people who contact me on LinkedIn are recruitment agencies.

    • it's point is to let you know when people you met once lose their job.
    • The point is the same as for every social networking site. To sell your information to advertisers.

    • LinkedIn is business-oriented networking. Facebook for business purposes.

      You're supposed to have an online presence to get hired these days. I have absolutely none under my real name, and if a company doesn't want to hire me because of that, and doesn't see the irony in requiring a person with computer security knowledge to spill their private info online, well I don't want to work for them...

      • If you are spilling sensitive private info on a social web site you're doing it wrong.

        I have a stripped down version of my resume online on Linkedin. I have a few cutesy photos and "likes" for some shows I watch on FaceBook. Otherwise there is nothing on either site that is even remotely sensitive.

        These sites are simply tools to make it easier for people to get in touch with me.

    • bingo!

      (gee, maybe not everyone is employed right now. gee, maybe those who are looking for work appreciate a 'network' that is based entirely on finding work/hiring people. imagine that.)

      obviously you are working now and are not even thinking in the shoes of somehow who is out of work or in a horrible job and wanting to move.

      the job market and whole process is now different from what it was even 10 years ago. and linkedin used to be good 'way back' when it started. now, I'm not so sure. a lot of job sp

    • by mcmonkey ( 96054 )

      What's not to get?

      You're complaining that the only people who contact you on are people looking for a date.

      It's professional networking. For most people, it's keeping in touch with colleagues for when you need a job or letter of reference. It's a way to present an image of yourself online. It's for folks who don't mind being contacted by recruitment agencies.

      What I don't get is people posting pictures. If you're in an industry where looks are part of the job (e.g. modelling) or where it is tra

      • What I don't get is people posting pictures. If you're in an industry where looks are part of the job (e.g. modelling) or where it is traditional for that 'personal touch' (e.g. real estate), sure. But for everyone else, isn't it just an invitation for discrimination?

        If they're going to discriminate against you based on your appearance when they meet you anyway, why not provide them the opportunity to do so online so that you don't have to waste your valuable time on them?

        On one hand, I am totally cognizant of the fact that running my mouth online makes me less employable. On the other hand, any time I go to work for anyplace where I have to pretend to be something other than I am, I hate my life and my performance is crap anyway. I'd rather get hooked up with someone w

  • by Anonymous Coward

    LinkedIn is a giant piece of shit. Here is their entire business model from what I can tell:

    1. Some idiot that you emailed once 5 years ago gives the site their entire address book, including you.
    2. LinkedIn emails you telling you to sign up to add that person to your network. You'll probably ignore it.
    3. LinkedIn will email you about once a week "reminding" you about how John Q IGiveMyFuckingAddressBookToEverone added you to their network and you need to sign up to LinkedIn. THERE IS NO FUCKING OPT-O

    • The simplest solution to this is simply add email addresses of some of the spam RBL admins to LinkedIn, that'll make it fun for them when they end up on a few of the no-remove on third strike lists.

      Personally, I just blocked all of their domains at our mail server, but not everyone can do that of course.

  • Fraud (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ScooterComputer ( 10306 ) on Friday August 12, 2011 @10:24AM (#37067978)

    Can we all just finally come out and state--once and forever--that the use of a person's photo and name in an *advertisement* (whether as an explicit endorsement or not, regardless of privacy policy or where the photo was uploaded, whether it was on a social network or search query) without the expressed consent of the person is a crime? At the least it strains copyright, it is a theft of service, and at most it constitutes conspiracy to commit fraud. Yes, fraud; because if a company is using my likeness without my knowledge in an attempt to create the impression amongst the people in my social circle that I endorse the advertised product or service, then that company is committing fraud upon my friends.

    I don't care what the "Privacy Policy" states, criminal behavior is criminal behavior and cannot be policy'd around. Maybe these advertisers should start coming above board and offer to pay the idiots of their world for their photo and name on an opt-in, campaign-by-campaign basisthere'd be plenty of moron takers and we could use the jobs/extra income.

    • This is a prime example of what you're talking about:

      Overweight Man Receives 'Lose Weight Fast' Spam E-Mail Featuring His Picture

      HOUSTON—Jim Funderburke, a 240-pound accountant, was surprised to find a photo of himself in a spam e-mail for a weight-loss product Monday. "That's the last time I post vacation pictures on my web site," said Funderburke, 38, gazing at an unflattering image of himself in a bathing suit. "I'd like to be able to check my messages without seeing myself used as the online embod

  • I have accounts on several social networking sites. Facebook, Google+, more. I also joined Linkdin several years ago and out of the different sites I belong to find Linkdin annoying and useless. Specifically, I have never once gotten a date from there. So, to me it's as useless as a kick stand on a bass boat.

    • I have never once gotten a date from there

      Maybe online dating isn't for you. Besides. Your on slashdot. You should be used to not getting dates. :p

  • on their privacy policy. When you look at the original blogpost the only thing that changes is the misuse of your profile photo. Someone can still recall which person on your network is following the advertiser.
  • I can't get at the link right now, but in the discussion of this on, someone pointed out a number of other troubling opt-outs that LinkedIn had set for me.

    When I stopped and considered the minor benefits I've had from LinkedIn, vs. the fact that I can no longer trust them, I cancelled my acount.

  • I never really got much out of LinkedIn anyway, so when I read about this change, I just cancelled my account. One less thing to deal with.

    Now we'll see if they spend the next year harrassing me to come back...

    • Yup... LinkedIn was the social network I didn't use. For what it's worth, their Cancel My Account option was relatively easy to find and relatively painless to navigate.

      Maybe the ease with which one can cancel an account is at least partially a factor in inflated membership metrics? According to stats here [], an average user spends 15+ hours a month "on Facebook." Based on the fact that some high school students I know are logged in 24 hours a day, there are a lot of unused accounts sitting on their servers.

  • I have LinkedIn's outgoing ad emails automatically forwarded to their abuse department, which seems to have helped. I already had "social networking" turned off.

    LinkedIn was polluted by "LinkedIn Open Networkers", who accept connections from anybody. It's the same losers who tried to get vast numbers of Facebook friends, years later and older. They're mostly "consultants", sales reps, or spammers.

    I've tried asking questions on LinkedIn Answers a few times, with underwhelming results. Questions like "Ho

    • The one use I've got out of LinkedIn is the professional association groups. Asking questions in those forums generally gets informed answers pertinent to the field. In fact, beyond the friend-of-friend networking and hiring/getting a job aspect, it's the only thing I find useful on the site. The only people I see on the site who are actively updating their profiles are those who are trying to sell me something, or are looking for work.

  • It's pretty cynical of LinkedIn to somehow suggest that an ad is more useful to *me* because it has my friend's face in it. That's actually somewhat deceptive, given that a profile pic will be use if the person is following a company, which doesn't necessarily mean endorsing.

    It definitely helps the advertiser, since they can possibly increase sales off this implied endorsement, but it's otherwise disingenuous.

  • How much longer before everyone finally gets this through their ADHD-addled brains?
  • This phrase should be banned from article summaries. It may as well read, "Here is where the news ends and my editorializing begins, whilst trying to maintain an aire of impartiality that only dumbasses will fall for"

  • ... was the lack of notification that this change was taking place. The Register article I read about this social networking "feature" stated that users had been notified by email on June 23rd. Since I hadn't cleaned up my email for a couple of months, I decided to see if there was an email from LinkedIn telling me about this that I might not have paid close enough attention to. Nope. Nothing on 06/23 or anything for several days on either side of that date. I had the typical emails about updates to the gro

  • I have a photo of my penis on LinkedIn with a caption: "If you hire me, you get this, and 5 inches more!"

    So far, all I've received as spam, and one har-dee-har, "So all we get is 5 inches?"

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