Think your LinkedIn account is all stitched up and private? Think again. Some recent Facebook-like changes to the platform's default settings spawned a bevy of criticism. Here's how to keep your information in check. 

1. Manage Social Advertising

LinkedIn opened a can of worms when it altered its settings to show, by default, the names and photos of users within the third-party advertisements they've recommended or followed. The backlash was so significant that LinkedIn changed the settings just two days later, but things aren't entirely back to normal.

Rather than show user photos and names in third-party advertisements, LinkedIn now displays the number of users in your network who have recommended or followed the brand. The setting is still on by default. 

Turning it off is simple: 

  • Starting on your LinkedIn homepage, click your name in the upper right corner. On the drop-down menu, select “Settings”.
  • From the “Settings” page, select “Account”.
  • In the column next to “Account”, click “Manage Social Advertising” .
  • De-select the box next to “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising” .

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2. Manage Who Can E-Mail You

If you don't want  third-party companies to store your information in their adverts, there's a good chance you don't want them e-mailing you either. Unfortunately, by default, they can. 

To opt out of spam:

  • Starting on your LinkedIn homepage, click your name in the upper right corner. On the drop-down menu, select “Settings”.
  • From the “Settings” page, select “E-Mail Preferences”.
  • In the column next to “E-Mail Preferences”, click “Turn on/off partner InMail” .
  • De-select the two boxes:

Linkedin_mail.jpg

3. Manage Who Can Save Your Information

You can also nip the unwanted information sharing trend right in the bud by clicking the Groups, Companies and Applications tab, listed just under E-mail Preferences. In the column that expands beside it, you'll see a link to "Turn on/off data sharing with 3rd party applications" appear on the far right: 

linkedin_3rdP.jpg

Un-check that bugger. 

Excuses, Excuses 

LinkedIn alerted its users of these changes when they took place in June, but only via blog post. Ryan Roslansky, Director or Product Management at LinkedIn, has since admitted to the goof in another post that also links to the privacy settings -- specifically for social advertising: 

Our core guiding value is Members First. And, with regards to the social ads we’ve been testing, we’re listening to our members. We could have communicated our intentions — to provide more value and relevancy to our members — more clearly.

While it's a nice gesture, it would have been nice to mention how to change the related settings I've mentioned here. Further, I think networking platforms should have learned by now that most people have a negative response to being forced to opt-in at maximum exposure levels.

We should all acknowledge the necessity of waving goodbye to our 100% personal/private lives when we sign up for social networks of any sort, but I I think it would do networks well it ease their users into that process. Or at least be more vocal about it.