LinkedIn feature: “Mentioned in the news” can mean bad publicity for you

Not all news is good news.

Not all news is good news.

LinkedIn released a new “Mentioned in the News” feature in 2015 that uses an algorithm to search for online content in which you may be featured. Your contacts will then get an email message notifying them that you are in the news with a link to the article. However, there is no guarantee that the highlighted news will be good news (and we all know that bad news spreads like wildfire) or that the news will even be about you. As LinkedIn points out in the Help Center, “this algorithm is good, it’s not perfect.” In fact, LinkedIn has added the disclaimer at the bottom of email notifications that states, “LinkedIn does not guarantee that news articles are accurate or about the correct person.”

For example, if your name is Jane Smith and there’s a news story about another Jane Smith who, let’s say, has been indicted for a recent crime or has written a controversial op-ed, it’s possible your contacts could get notified. There could be a lot of confusion and damage done by such an incidence. While LinkedIn encourages your contacts to report identity mistakes in the email notifications, I am unable to find any way for the mentioned person to actually monitor his or her own “Mentioned in the News” notifications or approve content.

In addition, the beauty of social media is that YOU can control what your professional network sees about you, which allows you to paint an image of how you want to be viewed by others in your field. I was alerted to the issues behind this new feature when I received an email with a subject line “News about so and so”. Shockingly, It turns out the article about so and so was a biased, opinion piece on a watchdog group’s website that belittled the use of federal funds for the individual’s research project. This type of bad publicity should not automatically be distributed to an individual’s professional network without the consent of that person.

Overall, this feature is a bust, and I highly recommend disabling it on your LinkedIn account. To opt out of this feature, go to your “Account & Settings” by hovering over your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner of your LinkedIn home page. Select “Privacy & Settings” and then select “Turn on/off your news mention broadcasts” under the profile tab to uncheck the “Yes! Let them know” box.

To turn off email notifications about your connections, from within “Privacy & Settings” select the “Communications” tab and then under “Emails and Notifications” select “Set the frequency of emails”, choose to edit “Updates and news” by clicking the pencil icon and set “Connections in the News” to “No Email”.

I hope that the LinkedIn crew will realize the potentially damaging aspects of this so-claimed feature and remove it soon before it damages the professional reputation of its members.

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