LinkedIn makes under 18s pitch to tough room

Social network LinkedIn is taking the bold step of opening its membership to children at a time of heightened scrutiny of the services in the wake of several suicides.
 
LinkedIn plans to open its doors to children aged 13 and over from September 12, a shift from its current 18 and over policy and one that brings it in line with other social networks, most notably Facebook. LinkedIn will limit publicly available information for under 18s, and will handle customer support calls separately. It has also added a link to advice pages on how to navigate the site safely.
 
Eric Heath, LinkedIn’s legal director for global privacy and public policy, says the change offers under 18s the chance to “leverage the insights and connections of the millions of successful professionals,” currently using the site. The firm’s home page claims 225 million users.
 
LinkedIn’s move comes amid a storm over the impact of social networks and the Internet as a whole on children. Rival network Ask.fm is rushing through new safeguards after being widely criticized for its role in the suicide of at least one UK teenager.
 
Twitter came under the spotlight earlier this month, after it was used to threaten a female MP, an historian, and a woman who campaigned for novelist Jane Austen to feature on banknotes in the country.
 
LinkedIn’s response is to beef up its privacy policy, with planned changes including cutting the time it holds IP address data, covering more of its services, and amending a suggestions feature that uses email data.

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