LinkedIn Privacy Issue: People You May Know

February 17th, 2010 | by Jason Alba |
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Last year I wrote LinkedIn People You May Know Privacy Controversy.  I included a paraphrased response I got from someone at LinkedIn about how they gather this information.

In the comments, though, the controversy continues… on the one hand you have some cool “let’s connect all the dots in the world together” technology, on the other side people are saying “I didn’t give LinkedIn permission to get into my private stuff – where are they even getting this information from?”

Aside from what I put in that blog post I haven’t ever seen LinkedIn comment on the privacy issues… I have no idea how it works.  But here are some comments from that old post (click to see all the comments):

Miles Austin: The explanation does pass the sniff test for logical. Guess we will have to take them at their word, no reason not to.

Peter: I’m not sure that their response does pass the sniff test…. Now here is the interesting bit. The only electronic connection that does exist between us is that this person is a friend of my wife’s on Facebook.  I am not connected to my wife on LinkedIn and am no longer connected with her on Facebook

Greg: My theory is this: I’m undoubtedly on some contact lists uploaded by others. So, it’s easy as pie for LinkedIn to suggest I might know THOSE people. Then, there are 2nd degree connections, 3rd degree connections, etc.

Peter: in the case I described, none of this was applicable. The only electronic data that connected us existed on my wife’s computer in a supposedly separate application. … Since that last post I have also seen on my “People you may know” list the person who bought my last house – more than 3 years before I joined LinkedIn. We are now in different cities and completely unrelated industries. We have no contacts in common. He is in my Apple Address Book, but I did not give LinkedIn permission to scan that for potential contacts.

Interesting stuff… we’ll never know unless TechCrunch or some watchdog comes out with their answers or theories…

  1. One Response to “LinkedIn Privacy Issue: People You May Know”

  2. By Kristi on Nov 11, 2010 | Reply

    Linked in suggested two people I have no connection to – the only “connection” there was, was that I viewed their facebook pages. Both are creeps from twenty years ago – so the only way Linked in could have chosen them to suggest to me, was to have known somehow that I’d looked them up! How does Linked in know who I search for or whose facebook page I look at?! I am completely creeped out by this! This is overstepping a boundary,and I’m plenty mad about it!

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