Giving into user demand, the networking site LinkedIn will soon start letting its users post photos with their personal profiles.
LinkedIn Corp. has long resisted photos, seeing itself as a site for professional networking and job-seeking and desiring to set itself apart from social-oriented hangouts like News Corp.'s MySpace and Facebook.
In addition, LinkedIn didn't want to open potential employers to discrimination complaints.
But Adam Nash, LinkedIn's senior director of products, said photos remain one of the most requested features, and the site will start allowing them this Friday — with limits.
Users will be able to post only one photograph, and a head shot is highly recommended.
Nash said the feature isn't meant for posting photos from after work gatherings but for helping users recognize former colleagues and classmates. Although party shots are discouraged, there are no current plans to ban them.
LinkedIn also will allow a user to turn off photos completely when viewing other profiles — useful for human resources employees searching the site for potential recruits but fearful that a photo might compromise anti-discrimination policies.
Users also can control who can see their photos — their closest connections, everyone or in between — and they won't be pressured to post one. Photo-less profiles won't have an empty box seen at many other sites to remind visitors that a photo is missing.
"We did have to put some significant thought into how to introduce photos in a professional context, while still accommodating needs,'' Nash said.