Social Enterprise

You're LinkedIn's latest advertising star - didn't you know?

LinkedIn made a bad social advertising call, but we should know better than to trust social media...

LinkedIn may have generated bad feeling by employing its users' names and photos in advertising but users only have themselves to blame for the issue, says silicon.com's Jo Best.

Corporate social networking is clearly a lucrative business. LinkedIn recently went public with an IPO that raised $352m in funding. Facebook may be fine for posting pictures of your friend's party but when you want a public face to present to your next employer, you turn to LinkedIn.

In many ways, LinkedIn's success can be put down to the fact it's not Facebook. It doesn't encourage you to overshare or encourage others to share information about you without your involvement. While teenagers may have to change their name to escape from a past detailed on Facebook, I doubt anyone will need to banish a reputation garnered on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, however, revealed this week that's it's been borrowing an idea or two from its consumer counterpart. Alas, they're ideas from Facebook's darker side.

It has emerged that users have been opted into social advertising without knowing it.

LinkedIn social advertising settings

LinkedIn users can opt out of social advertising but only if they know how to change the right settingsImage: LinkedIn

"LinkedIn may sometimes pair an advertiser's message with social content from LinkedIn's network in order to make the ad more relevant. When LinkedIn members recommend people and services, follow companies, or take other actions, their name/photo may show up in related ads shown to you. Conversely, when you take these actions on LinkedIn, your name/photo may show up in related ads shown to LinkedIn members. By providing social context, we make it easy for our members to learn about products and services that the LinkedIn network is interacting with," the site said.

To put it another way, unless you unchecked the relevant box - you can find out how to change LinkedIn's default ad setting here - LinkedIn intended to allow organisations advertising on its site to use your profile picture and name in their advertisements, potentially without your direct knowledge.

You would become any number of organisations' official company spokesperson - you would be the...

About

Jo Best has been covering IT for the best part of a decade for publications including silicon.com, Guardian Government Computing and ZDNet in both London and Sydney.

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