By Sharon Hill
Updated Sept. 24, 10 p.m. Eastern, with additional material from LinkedIn about endorsements and false profiles
LinkedIn, which has been heavily criticized for allowing cyberstalking and for doing too little to block fake profiles, has disclosed plans to strengthen its security features and give users the ability to block other users.
The publicly traded company (Nasdaq: LNKD), a darling of Wall Street, has been hammered online and by users for major security flaws and for a lack of response to user concerns. However, in extensive responses to inquiries from the AIM Group about safety, the company said it is addressing at least some of those issues.
“A blocking feature is on our roadmap,” Doug Madey, a corporate communications staffer, told the AIM Group. However, Madey declined to provide any details on a timeline for blocking tools or why the company believes they are needed. He also declined to directly answer our questions about fraudulent recruitment ads on the site.
LinkedIn has become a leading global recruitment tool and professional network. However, criticism of the site has grown recently:
- Users have complained about being followed or stalked by people they do not know, and about receiving “endorsements” from people they have never met.
- LinkedIn was sued last week in federal court, accused of appropriating user’s identities and breaking into their email accounts. The company categorically denied the allegations.
- Users have complained about obviously fake profiles, spam submitted through LinkedIn user groups and irrelevant, sometimes fraudulent, job postings in user-group content.
- Several recruiting experts have criticized the company for its practice of allowing job-seekers to pay for promotion. While the practice is common as an advertising tool, headhunters have called it “double-dipping” because it can “sucker an employer … paying thousands to find the best job applicants” by promoting less-qualified candidates because they pay.
At the AIM Group / Classified Intelligence Report, we’ve reviewed hundreds of complaints and concerns about LinkedIn safety and security, and have traded emails with the company (which declined to participate in telephone interviews). Here are some of our findings:
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The email exchanges between LinkedIn and the AIM Group are posted on our site. To see the exchanges, click here.