LinkedIn 'social ads' will stop displaying users' names, photos
LinkedIn will no longer turn its users into unwitting cheerleaders for products and services, the professional networking site said Thursday.
LinkedIn users began protesting this week a new form of advertising on the site called "social ads" that used individual user's names and photos to promote products or services they recommended or companies they followed.
The company said Thursday that it would stop displaying users' names and photos in ads. Instead, social ads will tell you when people in your network recommend a product or follow a company.
LinkedIn is not the first social networking site to tap into the power of recommendations from friends. And it's certainly not the first to automatically include members in features. But the practice of making users opt out, instead of asking them to opt in, has alarmed privacy advocates and officials in the United States and in Europe.
"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," Ryan Roslansky, a director of product management at LinkedIn, said in a blog post.
-- Jessica Guynn
Screen shots: LinkedIn's social ads before (top) and after (bottom)