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LinkedIn Backs off Social Ads and Improves Mobile App

LinkedIn LogoThrust into the spotlight

Until recently, LinkedIn has managed to stay out of the spotlight when it comes to privacy. In June, however, LinkedIn decided to opt in millions of users to a privacy setting, allowing their names and pictures to be used in social advertisements. Social advertisements often include names and/or pictures of people you are connected to who recommend the product or service.  It went relatively unnoticed for weeks…and then the firestorm. In early August, the blogosphere and news websites lit up with the information. LinkedIn users were not happy.

Responding to the backlash

According to a recent article on Mashable.com, LinkedIn is now backing off on their social ads. Director of Product Management Ryan Roslansky explained in a company blog post:

 “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.

 Most importantly, what we’ve learned now, is that, even though our members are happy to have their actions, such as recommendations, be viewable by their network as a public action, some of those same members may not be comfortable with the use of their names and photos associated with those actions used in ads served to their network.”

They are now changing the format of social ads to include less information about users. And of course, you can still opt out of social ads altogether. Here’s how:

Opting outStacie Saunders LinkedIn Profile Settings 

  • Hover over the user name in the top right hand corner of your LinkedIn page and click ‘Settings’. 
  • On the Settings page, click ‘Account’. 
  • On the Account tab, click ‘Manage Social Advertising’. 
  • Uncheck the box next to “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising.” and click the save button.

Know your privacy settings; don’t panic

I think this brings to light a good point we should all remember: know what you are signing up for. Many of us blindly click on the “I agree to the terms of use” button when we sign up for a social network, without ever reading it. It is important to know what you are agreeing to and to keep up to date. Social networks are constantly growing and changing, often changing policies without users even knowing. How can we keep up? I have a reoccurring appointment every other month on my Outlook calendar to go in and check out my privacy settings. This way I know if something has changed or new options are available. Don’t let these changes scare you away from using LinkedIn. It is still a very powerful tool for CPAs, and I think LinkedIn learned a hard lesson about keeping users informed.

Major Mobile Upgrade

Some positive news about LinkedIn also came out this month. They did a major overhaul of their iPhone and Android apps…and I mean WOW! If you used the old app, you know it was, well, terrible. The new app is a big improvement, focusing on Updates, Inbox, Your Profile and Groups. Check it out and let me know what you think!

LinkedIn iPhone App
AICPA Members: If you would like more information about how to get started leveraging LinkedIn for business, check out our LinkedIn Social Media User Guide on AICPA.org.

, Social Media Strategist, American Institute of CPAs. Stacie leads and guides the AICPA’s social media strategy with oversight of the Institute’s social networking properties; serves as key contact for all social media initiatives; manages main AICPA LinkedIn groups and Facebook page; and leads staff and member education and training on social media.

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