This week both Facebook and LinkedIn introduced 2 new features without warning its users of the privacy implications.
Facebook, often publicized in the press for its privacy indiscretions and has been criticized by Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, is now synchronizing your phone numbers from your Smartphones. Although these phone numbers right now are only visible to you, how many times has the social networking giant changed policies and suddenly something was exposed that you didn’t intend to? My biggest concern with Facebook’s contact synchronization is that it’s an all or nothing affair – you’re either sending it everyone or no one. I’ve never used this as I like to keep my Facebook and phone contacts separate from each other… bad things happen when you cross the streams. Gizomodo has a nice write up how to stop your contacts from your phone from going to the blue giant and removing your imported contacts from the service:
Not to be left outdone by Facebook this week, LinkedIn introduced a feature that you need to opt-out from. It is now pairing your image with ads if you’ve used, recommended an advertiser’s service so it looks like you’re officially endorsing/sponsoring the company. I’ve pasted a portion of the dialog box that the network displays to explain the setting:
… 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. …
If celebrities can get paid for endorsing products, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for all of us to request the same thing. Using a service and indicating that you liked it is a totally different from saying that you’ll agree for them using your image in an ad campaign! Brand Impact has instructions how to turn this setting off. On the bright side LinkedIn did alter their policy after a public backlash – it’s improved, but they haven’t changed the wording on what the setting does. So to be safe, turn it off.
Brand Impact: A Box You Want to Uncheck on LinkedIn