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Reid Hoffman

LinkedIn: Privacy is a Country for Old Farts

[sfwp id=200 img=itemtype.png] Meet [sfwp id=404 img=itemprop.png]Reid Hoffman[sfwp id=2 img=closespan.png], the billionaire founder of LinkedIn.[sfwp id=1 img=closediv.png]In this video, he shares with an audience at Davos at the World Economic Forum, his opinion about your privacy concerns:

This was months ago, but nobody’s talking about it that I can see, so I will.The audio on that clip may be a little hard to hear, but here’s the key comment from the founder of the largest social network for professional people in the world:

 “all these concerns about privacy tend to be old people issues.”

“Old people” issues? Dewd!  And that’s how the founder of LinkedIn feels about your privacy? What’s he – related to Mark Zuckerburg or something?

gif of peeping tom watching someone through a peephole

I'm just watching young people - they don't care

For a social network supposedly for professional people, and with privacy issues especially important in the job search – to say nothing of when the economy is bad, and your company might be looking to cut employees, and you’re trying to make your mortgage… privacy issues aren’t old people issues, they’re normal people issues.

Maybe it’s par for the course that a billionaire founder, speaking at Davos — the world’s most elite  “old boys’ network” event (aren’t most of them old people??), held each year in the Swiss Alps — ridicules our concerns in such a condescending way.

It may be the most arrogant comment from a business executive since Leona Helmsley said “Only the little people pay taxes.”

If you signed up for LinkedIn, they never asked for your permission to sell your information to recruiters and HR departments, did they? They never told you that your actions, and your behaviors, and your privacy were going to be sold off to recruitment firms and HR departments. Even today, their User Agreement makes no mention of executive recruiters or human resources. (I mean, c’mon, if it was all on the up-and-up, they’d mention it to you when you sign up, or at least in the User Agreement or Privacy Policy, wouldn’t they?)

Should you be concerned about the fact that LinkedIn has the legal right to sell your job-hunting information to advertisers, show it in their advertisements, and leak it to your current colleagues or boss, if they want to?

No, you shouldn’t worry about that, at all, says Reid Hoffman, because “all these concerns about privacy tend to be old people issues.”

LinkedIn also this summer drew even more heat over a new form of advertising called  social ads. The ads basically turned LinkedIn users into cheerleaders for businesses. They used individuals’ names and photos to promote products or services that the individuals had recommended or companies they followed.

Here is a good post on how to take command and control of your privacy settings on your LinkedIn profile.

And here is a good post that talks about how LinkedIn has over 120 million users in more than 200 countries (including at least a million lawyers) and Web traffic that ranks it as the 13th most visited site on the planet, with a list of basic do’s and don’ts of creating and building a presence if you want to use LinkedIn.

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