Thursday, 2 January 2014

LinkedIn - Why you Shouldn't Link your Email with LinkedIn

I connected on LinkedIn recently with someone I knew very well from a short while back.  Immediately I was offered page after page of ‘people you might be interested in’ to find contact details for non LinkedIn acquaintances (and non acquaintances), LinkedIn contacts with whom I have nothing in common whatsoever, some who I knew a long time ago, and some who I was interested to connect with.  And there was no hook between my email contacts and LinkedIn.

My question was, how did LinkedIn select these potential connections?  I understand, through a little research, that LinkedIn is mining not only my own connections, but connections of connections, using a points score basis to come up with recommendations.  Ok.  I am still in the dark as to why and how LinkedIn could recommend an email contact off someone else’s list.  Other contacts have told me that they unwittingly sent invitations to everyone on their contact list.  More than once.

It's quite clear that unless you're willing to put your email contact list in someone else's 'hands' that you should not hook your email up with LinkedIn, however tempting that might seem.  Not only will you probably end up unwittingly spamming your list, but this will be repeated over and over again. 

I think that LinkedIn is an excellent tool, and has always been the upstanding social media site for professionals.  However, it is obviously in growing mode, and the tools it may choose to use to do that may not be those that you are happy with.  This doesn’t mean that you should come off LinkedIn, but that you should be aware that LinkedIn, as other social media sites, is constantly changing its Privacy Policy and you are almost certainly not keeping up.  Who, after all, reads the small print regularly if at all.

This is the page you need to read very carefully: http://www.linkedin.com/legal/privacy-policy.  Do this now.

I also suggest that you go to Privacy and Settings (click on your pic top right corner to get there), and go through all of your Profile Privacy Controls. Review them all.

One thing you might like to consider - in Groups, Companies and Applications, under Privacy Controls in that section, is to un-tick ‘Turn on/off data sharing with 3rd party applications’ as you will most likely find that this has been automatically ticked.

You may want to do the same for ‘Manage settings for LinkedIn plugins on 3rd party sites’.

Examples from the Privacy Policy at Jan 2nd 2013
’We collect information when you use the LinkedIn website, LinkedIn applications (for example, LinkedIn for iPhone or Android), and LinkedIn platform technology (such as “Share on LinkedIn” plugins for publishers). For example, we collect information when you view or click on ads, import your address book, join and participate in groups, participate in polls, install a LinkedIn mobile application, and share articles on LinkedIn.’

and

’You may use the LinkedIn contacts importer to upload individual contacts or your entire address book into LinkedIn. LinkedIn stores this information and uses it to help you manage it with “LinkedIn Contacts,” which can be your primary resource for storing, organizing, and utilizing your contact information. We also use this information to enhance your LinkedIn experience by helping you to grow your network by: identifying your contacts already on LinkedIn; providing a template to send invitations to your contacts that have not registered with LinkedIn; and suggesting people you may know but who may not be in your LinkedIn Contacts.’

Don’t ever assume that any social media application has your privacy protected, that has to be your job, and if you don’t take care too much will be known about you by too many, and far more than you suspect……….

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