LinkedIn Put Its Mentioned in the News Feature on Hold in the EU

Members were being incorrectly matched to articles

There were two complaints in the Irish Data Protection Commission's annual report
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LinkedIn’s Mentioned in the News feature is on hold in the European Union following a report by the Irish Data Protection Commission containing complaints that its algorithms were incorrectly matching members to news articles.

The DPC’s Annual Report for May through December 2018 did not mention LinkedIn by name, simply referring to a professional networking platform.

The key parts of the complaints about LinkedIn were: “In 2018, the DPC received two complaints about a feature on a professional networking platform (the data controller), whereby the data controller sends emails and notifications to a member’s connections and followers to inform them if and when the member is mentioned in the news … In one of the complaints, a media article that set out details of the private life and unsuccessful career of a person of the same name as the complainant was circulated to the complainant’s connections and followers by the data controller … The complainant stated that the article had been detrimental to their professional standing and had resulted in the loss of contracts for their business.”

It continued, “The second complaint involved the circulation of an article that the complainant believed could be detrimental to future career prospects, which the data controller had not vetted correctly … The key concern arising from these complaints was the failure of the data controller to correctly identify matches between members and those referenced in specific third-party media articles, resulting in members being associated with new stories that were not about them.”

LinkedIn responded in a blog post, “We are pausing our Mentioned in the News feature for our EU members while we re-evaluate its effectiveness. As referenced in the Irish Data Protection Commission’s report, we received useful feedback from our members about the feature and, as a result, are evaluating the accuracy and functionality of Mentioned in the News for all members.”

More information on the Mentioned in the News feature and its settings is available here.

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