Sophos warns LinkedIn users to review their online data following privacy rule change

The company notes that, whilst LinkedIn did place a notification on its website of the changes, many may have missed the following paragraph in the site's revised 6,400 word privacy policy:

"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."

In his latest security posting, Graham Cluley, Sophos' senior technology consultant, says that the change in policy is not going down well, with many LinkedIn users complaining online about the company's approach.

Sophos believes that LinkedIn's change reflects a growing trend amongst social networks to exploit users' information by putting the onus on users to "opt-out" of features rather than ask them to "opt-in".

"Unfortunately this is just the latest example of a social network introducing sensitive new policies without giving users the chance to say first whether they want to opt-in. We're used to this from Facebook, and it's disappointing to see LinkedIn follow in their footsteps”, said Cluley in his latest security posting.

"This feature certainly wasn't available when many of LinkedIn's users first signed up for the service, and as the majority of people don't tend to check privacy settings after they've set up an account, many people won't even be aware that their image and name could be used in this fashion", he added.

Cluley goes on to say that LinkedIn users can turn off the social advertising options by visiting their account settings, and disabling "Manage Social Advertising"

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