LinkedIn scraps short lived “Intro” feature after privacy concerns

LinkedIn is doing away with its controversial “Intro” feature, along with a few other products as it focuses on “doing fewer things better.”

In a blog post, senior VP of products and user experience Deep Nishar said Intro will be shutdown later this year, even though the feature had been introduced barely five months ago. With Intro, users could now view LinkedIn profile features of the people sending them the email, directly within the message. This included a profile picture, job title and company name of the user, providing more context, and engagement opportunities through the LinkedIn platform.

However, since its introduction, the feature has been dogged by concerns over whether it was too invasive, and a security concern. 

Writing in Valleywag, Sam Biddle said,  

“Intro” promises to put user profiles directly inside your emails, something that’s never been possible before, because Apple specifically blocks this kind of visual bullshit. Why you’d ever want graphical profiles of college acquaintances and former bosses placed directly inside your emails, I don’t know—but maybe this will appeal to some, and to those power-users, God bless. For the rest of us, Intro should be avoided—not just because it’s obnoxious, but because it’s dangerous.

And internet security expert Bishop Fox  claimed that LinkedIn Intro basically hacks into your iPhone email.

Intro reconfigures your iOS device (e.g. iPhone, iPad) so that all of your emails go through LinkedIn’s servers. You read that right. Once you install the Intro app, all of your emails, both sent and received, are transmitted via LinkedIn’s servers.

“But that sounds like a man-in-the-middle attack!” I hear you cry. Yes. Yes it does. Because it is. That’s exactly what it is. And this is a bad thing. If your employees are checking their company email, it’s an especially bad thing. 

Despite LinkedIn’s counter-offensive which dismissed the claims of privacy invasion, five months later, the feature is being scuttled as LinkedIn figures out another way to increase its mobile/email presence.

Nishar said users will be able to uninstall Intro between now and March 7, and go back to using their old email accounts.

Another LinkedIn tool that is being shutdown is Slidecast, a Slideshare feature that allows users to upload presentations with audio. In addition, LinkedIn will no longer provide support for any version of its LinkedIn iOS iPad app that is older than 6.0.

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