LinkedIn removes users’ names, photos from ads

12 Aug 2011

User complaints have spurred LinkedIn to stop using its users’ names and photos in social ads.

Social ads employed users’ names and photos to promote products or services they recommended or companies they followed.

LinkedIn began testing social ads in late June, announced the new ads on its blog and placed a banner ad informing members of the initiative. It also informed users how to opt out. The practice of not asking users to opt in is what has concerned privacy advocates in Europe and the US.

LinkedIn has said it will stop displaying users’ names and photos in ads, and instead social ads will state the number of a user’s connections who follow or recommended a product or company. For example, “Four people in your network follow X Company on LinkedIn.”

Ryan Roslansky, a director of product management at LinkedIn, said in a blog post that LinkedIn never shares personal information with third-party advertisers. “That was true prior to the launch of the social ads test, and remains true today.”

How to change your privacy settings on LinkedIn to opt out of social advertising:

1. Log into your account.

2. Under your name at the top right of the screen, select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu.

3. Select ‘Account’ at the bottom left of the page.

4. In the box that appears just to the right, select ‘Manage Social Advertising’ under ‘Privacy Controls’.

5. Make sure the box before ‘LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising’ is unchecked in order not to have your details used in social ads.