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LinkedIn updates T’s and C’s but is it good or bad news?

LinkedIn have recently issued a preview of its new terms and conditions that come into effect on the 7 June 2017. There has been much press, speculation and downright scaremongering about this over the last couple of weeks so I wanted to lay out what we know and what we could guess at.

  • LinkedIn has stated, and given you control over, your profile going to a wider audience. I suspect that this is driven in part by their recent announcements to partner with external CRM vendors more, hence they want visibility of profiles. This could be good for both parties so on balance it’s an OK step. You can opt out if you choose to, but until we know the details of what’s in or not we’re staying in and keeping open minded. Suspect OK, not good or bad, depending on your views.
  • A small sample of users in the US were previously asked for access to location services as part of a limited trial by LinkedIn (which they didn’t explain in advance and hence they stopped quickly). LinkedIn has now asked users to opt in to give it access to GPS / Bluetooth and stated that they’re intention is for more people to meet up in real life such as at conferences, conventions and when people are close by. We could guess that this is part of their drive to get more people onto the site more often, perhaps so you get the opportunity to meet new people near you. Let’s wait and see but our initial view is good news.
  • It is also going to seek out your accomplishments or public plaudits and share these with your network, a bit like it does already if you’re mentioned in the press. It will suggest that you might want to share these with your network but if you’re not cool with being informed or offered the option you can chose to opt out of this too. OK with this as there are some cultural dimensions about this to consider so it could be good or bad depending on your view of accomplishments in public.
  • Yet more AI and bots! LinkedIn is offering more suggestions on how to start conversations and relationships for those less adept at social interaction. Whilst a suggestion is always welcome it does feel a little odd that a machine is suggesting how to start a human relationship, but heh let’s wait and see what it looks like. Our view on this is disappointment and depression, not about LinkedIn doing so, but that they think we need it and cannot do it ourselves.
  • They also clarified their position on data scraping tools and that you should not “develop or support software, devices, scripts, robots or any other means or processes to scrape our Services or otherwise copy profiles and other data from our Services.” We have seen (and been approached by) a few companies starting to view profiles on autopilot, extract email addresses and more. Often you fuel this by giving your own address book to the provider in return for their “free” or cheap tool sets so do read the small print of any! We’ve never been a fan of this approach as personal relationships make referrals work not email addresses.
  • Interesting they also reiterated that you cannot create a false profile or identity on LinkedIn, unless it has been approved by LinkedIn for a specific campaign(!) I wonder if that means no more Santa at Christmas as we had one year previously?

And that is about it at a headline level, nothing revolutionary, just an interesting indication on their direction. More focus on openness with others (watching brief), more potential face to face interactions fuelled by location and LinkedIn (suspect this could be good!) and minor clarifications.

What’s your view?

Ours is let’s wait and see what unfolds before taking any decisions.



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