Privacy violation on LinkedIn?
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Privacy violation on LinkedIn?

User data misused for Facebook advertising

After Facebook and Google Plus, the next social media portal affected by a privacy violation is LinkedIn’. Around 18 million email addresses were used for Facebook advertising – without the affected users being LinkedIn members.

You can find out from us what is behind the data protection violation and what consequences LinkedIn may have.

LinkedIn is now also affected by privacy violation

It seems as if every major social media platform has been affected by a data protection violation in the meantime. After Facebook and Google Plus, this time it’s the career portal LinkedIn. An investigation by the Irish data protection authority revealed that LinkedIn had used the email addresses of around 18 million people for personalised Facebook advertising.

The problem is that none of the email addresses concerned are from LinkedIn members. In concrete terms, this means that the email addresses concerned were misused for Facebook advertising without the knowledge or permission of their owners.

LinkedIn data violation

After Facebook and Google Plus, LinkedIn is now also affected by a privacy violation. (Image: pixabay.com/tiffanytlcbm)

User complaint uncovers data protection violation

The misuse of the user data of around 18 million European users for Facebook advertising was only noticed due to a user complaint. A Facebook user had complained to the Irish data protection authority about the repeated display of LinkedIn advertising on Facebook. He received the ad even though he was not a LinkedIn member. The data protection authority looked into the case and determined the full extent of the breach in the course of the investigation.

The user complaint is not an isolated case. In fact, according to the Irish Data Protection Authority’s final report, LinkedIn has collected 18 million email addresses. These are from non-members of Europe to display personalised Facebook advertisements. Subsequently, however, not only the European LinkedIn office, but also LinkedIn USA, accessed the data – without the knowledge or consent of the users concerned.

No legal consequences despite data protection violation

LinkedIn has worked closely with the Irish data protection authority since the incident became public. It had been noted that there had been problems with data protection in various processes. However, LinkedIn had meanwhile improved these points and improved the protection of user data. In addition LinkedIn has now stopped recruiting new members via Facebook advertising.

However, there are no legal consequences for LinkedIn despite the data protection violation. The incident took place in 2017, before the new EU data protection regulation came into force.

This protects you against data misuse

If LinkedIn has breached your privacy, you can no longer do anything to protect your information. Basically, however, the following applies: Only disclose as much personal data as you need on the Internet. Also regularly check which personal data your social media profiles have access to and adjust your permissions if necessary.

It also makes sense to periodically scan your smartphone or PC for malware with an antivirus program to prevent unauthorised access to your information. When choosing and installing a suitable virus protection, your TrustATec technician will advise you.  

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