Leaky LinkedIn – HP Exec Shares a Little Too Much

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4657028652_bc621c220f It seems a less-than-circumspect HP executive let a little too much show on his LinkedIn profile:

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) Vice President Scott McClellan gave away more than his job status when he mentioned the computer maker’s new Web-storage initiative in his profile on LinkedIn Corp., a professional-networking site.

McClellan inadvertently tipped off competitors earlier this year to previously undisclosed details of Hewlett-Packard’s cloud-computing services. The information was later removed, though not before rivals got a look at the plans.

Read more at Bloomberg

This seems to be a recurring theme. It’s happened to Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and more. A particularly common problem seems to be freelancers listing projects that they’ve worked on for clients – several upcoming video games have been confirmed in this way.

What can you do about it?

  1. Use it to your advantage. Monitor status updates and profile updates from your competitors’ employees. There are free built-in tools from LinkedIn and Google for doing this, or more sophisticated tools, for a price.
  2. As an employee/freelancer, be sure you know if what you’re working on is confidential and take that into consideration before anything you post that’s work-related. And keep in mind that you may be revealing more than just what’s in your post, such as your location at a certain point in time.
  3. As an employer, you can’t prevent it with technology, because employees may still post using their own devices or on their own time. You must, though:
    a. Monitor social media yourself so you have early detection.
    b. Educate employees clearly about confidentiality and social media.
    c. Remind them about it any time you announce something internally.

Image: Matt McNier

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