LinkedIn pulls a Facebook on its Members

So LinkedIn seems to have decided to go the Facebook way in terms of not caring about its members’ privacy. It covertly made a few changes to its privacy policy some time back, that allows it to use members’ names and photographs in third-party advertisements on LinkedIn. These new features are ‘opt-in’ by default, and you’ll never even know they’re there unless you are in the habit of constantly tinkering with your account settings. They call it “social advertising”. I think we can safely call it an invasion of privacy.

The last thing one expects to experience on a ‘professional’ networking site is to be turned into some sort of shill for products or services one has no intention of endorsing to begin with. Here’s how you can opt-out if you haven’t already:

  • Go to your Home page
  • Click on your name (at the top-right corner of the page) and select ‘settings’
  • Click on ‘account’ (lower left corner of the page); you should see several options in the box right next to ‘account’ now, grouped under ‘privacy controls’, ‘settings’, ’email and password’ and ‘helpful links’
  • Click on the first option ‘manage social advertising’  under ‘privacy controls’ and turn off the feature by unchecking the box that is displayed

You also might want to opt-out of the feature that shares your data with third-party applications on LinkedIn (yes, that’s ‘opt-in’ by default as well):

  • Go to your Home page
  • Click on your name (at the top-right corner of the page) and select ‘settings’
  • Click on ‘groups, companies & applications’ (lower left corner of the page); you should see several options to the  right, grouped under ‘groups’, ‘companies’ , ‘applications’ and ‘privacy controls’
  • Click on ‘Turn on/off data sharing with 3rd party applications’,  under ‘privacy controls’

Lunchwalla- Putting the Social back into Social Networking

Social Networking has since its inception, raised concerns about how, by limiting face-to-face interactions, it actually makes users anti-social and prevents them from forming ‘real’ friendships. And while there may be some merit to these concerns, things stand to change with the launch of Social Networking sites that facilitate real life interaction between friends, thereby encouraging people to maintain a more-than-virtual connection with people in their social circle. Lunchwalla, launched this March, enables users to plan everyday social events (food being a necessary prerequisite) with friends and connections on your Social Networking sites. It also allows you to integrate your Lunchwalla profile with your Facebook profile, thereby making the good old question, “Say, do you want to meet over lunch/dinner/drinks?” all the more easier to handle.

 

I thought that being based in the US, Lunchwalla probably wouldn’t be able to provide me with options in my part of the world (a city in India), but was pleasantly surprised when it turned up a fairly acceptable (if not very comprehensive) list of eateries in my city. And while the ‘coupon system’ that gives users discounts on their meals was understandably not available to me, directions to said eateries were. What appealed to me was that the site includes a ‘vote’ option wherein friends you have invited for a planned event (say, lunch) could vote for the restaurant they wanted to eat in, from a list of options that you provide. Having spent many hours trying to zero in on a place to meet while everyone yells “Unfair!” when you pick a place they don’t like, I love this feature.

I understand the site is still in the Beta stage so I hope it also provides a version for mobile phones. Seeing that most of us these days don’t really have the luxury of having a computer around while we’re running around all over the place trying to meet deadlines, having a mobile version seems quite necessary if the site really wants to live up to its promise of a  no-fuss get-together.

Note: The name is a turn on the Hindi word ‘Dabbawalla‘ that literally translates to ‘Lunch-box Man’. I sensed an India Connection.  I was right- one of the founders has Indian origins.