LinkedIn may launch an intranet application for businesses, which would allow staff to collaborate with their colleagues on an internal network in a similar fashion to how they network with their contacts externally.

In an exclusive interview with V3, LinkedIn’s European managing director, Ariel Eckstein, said the firm is considering the idea because of growing business interest.

“What we have seen is that people are on intranets because they have to be but are on LinkedIn because they want to be,” said Eckstein. “They are spending more time on LinkedIn and less time on intranets.”

“Clients come to ask and say help us make our intranet better and we work with them on product development.”

Eckstein said the problem with many intranets is that they are designed from the “enterprise point of view” rather than the user standpoint.

The LinkedIn intranet application will not require much customisation if it is launched, he added.

Eckstein also said businesses have been approaching LinkedIn for the data it collects on its users, but he was adamant that the firm would not give in to any such requests.

“We get lots of companies coming to us with interesting propositions for the use of our customer data but we ignore them because everything we do has to be matched to the users’ best interests,” said Eckstein.

“Our message is that we are custodians of data.”

Social networking firms tread a fine line when it comes to balancing user privacy against advertising prospects.

In August last year, LinkedIn users were urged to contact the company to complain after it was revealed that a change in privacy policy allowed third-party advertisers to harvest users’ profile information and pictures in their ads by default.

Changes to LinkedIn’s Terms of Use meant users were forced to manually untick a box in the Manage Social Advertising section of their privacy controls.

However after days of negative reaction, the firm reconsidered its plans and took away the box.

Source: V3

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