A victory for privacy on LinkedIn could be a huge loss for businesses, recruiters and anyone else who hopes to be able to export email addresses from their connections. LinkedIn has just silently introduced a new privacy setting that by default prevents other users from exporting their email address. That could prevent some spam and protect users who did not realize that someone they were connected to could download their email address in a giant spreadsheet. But launching this new configuration without prior notice or even a formal announcement could annoy users who spent a lot of time on the professional networking site hoping to communicate with their connections outside of it.
TechCrunch was informed by a reader that the emails were no longer received as part of LinkedIn's archiving tool to export their data. LinkedIn now confirms to TechCrunch that "This is a new configuration that gives our members more control of their email address on LinkedIn. If you look at the settings titled" Who can download your email, "you will see that we have added a more detailed configuration that by default establishes the safest privacy option Members can choose to change that configuration according to their preferences This gives our members control over who can download their email address through a data export "
This new option can be found in Settings and privacy -> Privacy -> Who can see my email address? This "Allow your connections to download your email [address of user] in your data export?" Change the default to "No." Most users do not know it exists because LinkedIn did not announce it; A folded section has simply been added to the Help Center on email visibility, and few can voluntarily change it to "Yes", as there is no explanation as to why they would like to do so. That means that almost no email address will appear in the exports of the LinkedIn file. Your connections will still be able to see your email address if they navigate to your profile, but you can not take them from your full graphic.
Facebook came to the same conclusion about the restriction of email exports when it was in a datum. Portability fights with Google in 2010. Facebook had encouraged users to import their Gmail contacts, but refused to allow users to export their friends' email addresses. He argued that users have their own email addresses, but not their Friends, so they could not be downloaded, although that position conveniently prevented any other application from restarting a social graph of the competition when importing its list of friends from Facebook in any way that is usable. I have argued that Facebook should make friend lists interoperable so that users can choose which applications they use, either because it is the right thing to do, or because it might discourage regulation.
In a social network like Facebook, except for email Exports make more sense. But in LinkedIn's professional network, where people connect on purpose with those they do not know and where they have always been allowed to export, making the change in silence seems to be surreptitious. Perhaps LinkedIn did not want to draw attention to the fact that it was allowing its email address to be assimilated by anyone with whom it is connected, given the current climate of the media of intense scrutiny regarding privacy in social technology But trying to hide a change that is hugely impactful for companies that rely on LinkedIn could erode the trust of their main users.