LinkedIn tip: opt-out of social advertising

Facebook calls them “sponsored stories” and LinkedIn calls them “social ads.” And you’ve likely seen them: small modules in the margin of your screen that promote a company or product with information on which of your friends or connections “like” or “follow” that brand.

Social advertising isn’t anything new on LinkedIn. Back in June, thecompany announced its foray into a new type of advertisingplatform that would surface actions from your network, suchasrecommendations and company follows, and use your name and photo in thead.

Then in August, after a round of negative feedback from users, LinkedInpublishedanother blog post addressing the feedback, explaining itsadvertising policies and announcing a few new changes, one of whichconsisted of removing users’ photos from the ads.

Now a chain-letter-type of message is making its rounds throughLinkedIn, reigniting the social advertising backlash. The messagebegins, “Without attracting too much publicity, LinkedIn has updatedtheir privacy conditions. Without any action from your side, LinkedInis now permitted to use your name and picture in any of theadvertisements.”

Opting out is easy
This, of course, isn’t entirely true anymore. LinkedIn no longerincludes a thumbnail of your picture directly on the ad as it once did;now, you need to click the link that says how many people in yournetwork follow the advertised company in order to see your contacts’photos. The chain-letter message then encourages you to pass thewarning along to 50 of your connections.

The bigger problem with these social ads is that LinkedIn automaticallyopts you in to them. So unless you were privy to its announcements sixmonths ago, you likely haven’t noticed that your information isincluded in its social advertising campaigns.

Fortunately, opting-out is easy. Log into your account and hover overyour name in the top-right corner. Select “Settings” from the drop-downmenu that appears.

Scroll to the bottom of your Settings page and click the “Account” tab.Under the first heading, “Privacy Controls,” choose “ManageSocialAdvertising.” Then, uncheck the box that lets LinkedIn use your nameand photo in social advertising.

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