digibyte - Has LinkedIn lobotomized its users?

Profile picture for user gonzodaddy By Den Howlett July 24, 2015
By taking one more step towards locking your data in, LinkedIn erodes the trust relationship with its users. But will they notice, much less care?

Ray Wang tears into LinkedIn over its change in policy about how users get their data archive. Long story short, LinkedIn has quietly removed users' ability to get instant access to their archive. Now you have to go to a help page and request your data which, LinkedIn says, will take 24-72 hours to action.

Wang characterizes the change as a break in the trust relationship between LinkedIn and its users:

By not announcing a significant change of features that impact one’s personal data, customers felt that LinkedIn tried to brush this feature change under the table.  The lack of transparency damaged the trusted relationship users  had with their social network.

I think there is a bigger problem here. LinkedIn is defending its business model by turning itself into a roach motel, Facebook style. It seems LinkedIn is not satisfied with the fact it has become the de facto first port of call for hiring intelligence and, increasingly, yet-another-advertising-sinkhole. Now it is taking one more step to concreting over your data. I have no doubt there will come a time when LinkedIn will charge for users to gain access to their data, citing something like operational cost pressures.

But that is not the biggest problem. I worry that people have lost sight of the fact that once they start dumping data into these free services that they become the product. Regardless of the claimed utility. And now, it seems, they're not noticing the potential impact because apart from Wang and Venture Beat's reporting on this topic following an innocuous Tweet, pretty much no-one else seems to have noticed. Ergo - you have been lobotomized.

There has to be a better way. I suspect it is only a matter of time before one emerges and blows up LinkedIn's vampire squid model.