How to keep your face out of LinkedIn ads

After all this talk about Google's new privacy policy and Facebook's Timeline, people are now waking up to the fact that LinkedIn too may be making use of your information in ways you don't want.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

LinkedIn can use your personal info in advertising.

LinkedIn can use your personal info in advertising.

Google has unified its privacy policies, Facebook is rolling out its Timeline feature, and the FBI is looking for help to monitor all the social networks. All that has people feeling a little twitchy about the personal information they've placed online. And, now some people have noticed that LinkedIn, the business and jobs social network, may use some of your public information in advertising. Whoops!

A note that's going around LinkedIn circles reads: "I received the following message from a contact and I am posting it for your awareness and consideration. Without attracting too much publicity, LinkedIn has updated their privacy conditions. Without any action from your side, LinkedIn is now permitted to use you name and picture in any of their advertisements."

That's sort of true. Actually LinkedIn has long claimed the right to use your name and picture in advertisements.

In fact, there's really nothing new here at all. LinkedIn first used public network information in ads in the summer of 2011. After a test run, the popular social network stopped using photos, and came up with its current policy.

LinkedIn comes right out and spells out what's what in its Privacy Policy: "We use the information you provide to ... Create and distribute advertising relevant to your or your network's LinkedIn experience. If you share your interactions on LinkedIn, for example, when you recommend a product, follow a company, establish or update your profile, join a Group, etc., LinkedIn may use these actions to create social ads for your network on LinkedIn using your profile photo and name." That's been the social network's policy since at least June 16, 2011.

But, as LinkedIn also says, "You can control whether LinkedIn uses your name and picture in social ads." Here's how you do that:

  1. Place the cursor on your name at the top right corner of the screen. From the small pull down menu that appears, select "settings"
  2. Then click "Account" on the left/bottom
  3. In the column next to Account, select the option "Manage Social Advertising"
  4. Un-tick the box "LinkedIn may use my name and photo in social advertising"
  5. And Save

You can also do it from the Privacy Policy page. The link there, after the clause explaining how LinkedIn can use your name, likeness, and information in ads, takes you straight to the Manage Social Advertising box.

Personally, I like that LinkedIn makes it so straightforward to control how the company uses my information. Facebook, in particular, is always changing its privacy settings and makes it difficult to control who can see what. LinkedIn makes it simple... just so long as you knew in the first place that your information could be used in advertising without your express permission.

Related Stories:

FBI to monitor Facebook, Twitter, MySpace

Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

Facebook starts rolling out Timeline to everyone

The Definitive Facebook Lockdown Guide - Securing your privacy settings (Sept. 2011)

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