LinkedIn Turns a Privacy Policy into a Marketing Win

LinkedIn sent an email to it’s users this morning about some up-coming changes to it’s User Agreement (UA). The changes focus on making the UA easier to digest, but LinkedIn also clarifies some policies regarding our right to ownership of the content we post on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn always valued their users’ right to content ownership, but are only now making it policy. This got me curious about how Facebook handles ownership of content (because of Facebook’s reputation with disagreeable policies).

Here are the differences:

LindedIn's UA Section 3 - Click for a bigger view.
LindedIn’s UA Section 3 – Click for a bigger view.

LinkedIn gives you full rights to the content you post on their network. If they want to use your content in advertising, they will get your consent first, no matter what.

LinkedIn also specifies that it will not alter the meaning of your content, no matter how much they modify it.

Facebook's UA Section 2 - Click for a bigger view.
Facebook’s UA Section 2 – Click for a bigger view.

Facebook also gives you full rights to the content you post.

Facebook's UA Section 10 (Advertising) - Click for a bigger view.
Facebook’s UA Section 10 (Advertising) – Click for a bigger view.

But, Facebook can use your content in advertising with out notifying you. However, Facebook will not give your information to advertisers directly with out your consent.

Facebook also doesn’t seem to make any assurances about modifying content.

The Marketing Smarts Behind LinkedIn’s Move

What impressed me wasn’t the policy so much as LinkedIn’s strategy with these changes. This isn’t exactly marketing, it’s public relations. However, it IS a marketing technique.

LinkedIn has taken a common practice (how they approach content ownership) and made a story out of it. But they have also taken an extra step to stand out in the social media world.

This isn’t a story that is being told by other social networks. In fact, Facebook is always getting slammed for it’s subtle privacy policy changes. LinkedIn took a sensitive subject in the social media word, expressed values that comfort the user, and built a story around it.

LinkedIn knows that trust is a big issue with professionals and business owners – their primary market. It seems they are making a concerted effort to establish and protect that trust with their users.

This is excellent marketing and PR, in my opinion. What do you think? Am I rightly interpreting the two user agreements?

Comment with your input below. And please, share this post. Let’s see what others have to say.

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