LinkedIn, the business-focused social network that is popular in the IT industry, has been accused of revealing its users’ browsing habits to advertisers.
According to advertising industry news site MediaPost, the suit against LinkedIn relates to the way in which the site delivers traffic statistics to its advertisers. It claims that the “referrer headers” LinkedIn passes on to advertisers, letting them know which page users were looking at when they clicked on their ads, contains information that could be used to identify the user personally.
The suit alleges that San Francisco resident Kevin Low was “embarrassed and humiliated by the disclosure of his personally identifiable browsing history,” as a result of LinkedIn’s use of referrer headers.
LinkedIn told MediaPost that the suit ‘lacks merit’ and that it will defend itself “vigorously”.
Last year, Facebook was sued over the same practice. The suit against Facebook presented the following example in arguing that users’ privacy was endangered: "If a Facebook user who was gay and struggling to come out of the closet was viewing the Facebook page of a gay support group, and then clicked on an ad, the advertiser would know the exact identity of that person."
Facebook denied the charges, arguing that the claimants had suffered no material damage as a result of its actions.