LinkedIn must close fake accounts, stop anonymous browsing, prevent harassment and enforce strict penalties on violations.
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If LinkedIn acts to form reasonable protections for its members they will increase member's safety worldwide. Is this issue important to LinkedIn? With so many loopholes that enable predators and make victims more vulnerable the answer appears to be no. The consequences of fake accounts harm LinkedIn and its members. LinkedIn's solution was to allow members to block up to 50 accounts. This has not abated problems. LinkedIn can not prevent every single fake account from being formed on its platform but it must do much more. LinkedIn must end anonymous browsing in its current form and allow members choices, like the option, "Block all anonymous browsing." For example a premium subscription add on that allows members the freedom to select what type of searches can be performed on their profiles would dramatically help members who are victims of stalkers. The add on premium blocking selections could vary from anyone searching your profile, to only your network, to verified recruiters, to no one private or semi-private. A new premium tool, even if it is fee based, would be a good faith effort to make a reasonable solution to a growing problem. The blocking add on would likely result in curtailing fraud, impersonation and stalking. Moreover this could be measured and quantifiable through the year over year data of recorded complaints for trolling and stalking.
LinkedIn's success is actually part of the problem. With incredible growth comes higher levels of danger. When this petition was first created LinkedIn was 259+ million member platform, it is now a 414+ million member platform. The number 1 non-violent crime is identity theft. 414 million is a treasure trove of temptations for criminals. This petition is not seeking the elimination of every single fake account. Nevertheless LinkedIn is not aggressive enough in deterring fake accounts, and finding existing ones to shut down. LinkedIn needs to do much more to locate and eliminate existing fake accounts thus stopping a means for a predator to use LinkedIn for nefarious purposes. LinkedIn must allow members the choice to block searches of their profiles from private (anonymous) and semi-private viewing. Members have the ability to make their own profile private however a fake account need only to be a 2nd connection and will still be able to view your profile regardless if it is private or public. Let's remember if you need to make your profile private it means you are letting the stalker win as those looking to potentially hire you may not find your profile.
See the link to the article below about a NJ woman who made a fake Facebook profile. That the act alone could be illegal as a form of impersonation.
Fake accounts have gotten out of hand. LinkedIn filed suit against 1000's of fake accounts in an effort to attain the fake account holder’s true identity. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-07/linkedin-sues-unknown-hackers-over-thousands-of-fake-accounts.html
LinkedIn’s policies towards stopping fake accounts are not strong enough nor proactive enough or they would not have filed a lawsuit complaining about 1000’s of fake accounts created by bots on their own platform. The suit stand as an admission of LinkedIn’s failure with our safety as 1000's of fake accounts should have been prevented from being created. A blocking feature of anonymous (private) profile searches would act as a deterrent to stalking, trolling and fake accounts. There is a need a for LinkedIn to at least offer this feature and allow members the right to choose. Don't you deserve the right to choose? Apple has made a stance for individual's privacy why can't LinkedIn stand for our right to choose? Nearly all other social media platforms offer expanded blocking. Why is it that LinkedIn does not care about such an important issue?
In the suit LinkedIn filed it indicated that it was harmed by fake accounts through the act of trespass (on page 15 of the complaint, Count 5, Case No. CV 14-0068 filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco)). If this allegation is true every member that had a fake or anonymous account view their profile has been trespassed against. LinkedIn claims in their complaint that through these trespasses it has suffered irreparable harm. That sounds very serious. If this is true then the same has occurred for millions of other LinkedIn members on its platform.
Even if the new blocking feature was a paid option, how can LinkedIn deny the blocking of anonymous viewing? Can LI demonstrate that there has never been an instance when anonymous viewing caused harm to a member? Never! LI's market cap is $15 billion with around $3 billion in cash on hand. LI should have dedicated teams working around the clock to shut down fake accounts and stalking issues. The cost benefit analysis is clear, investing in the protection of its members and platform vs doing nothing and witness the erosion of member's trust and the loss of LI's platform integrity. Can LI afford to lose your trust? LI's most valuable asset is its platform. Why doesn't LI identify the number of fake accounts it closes.
The explosion of fake accounts on the LI platform demonstrates a lack of due diligence in the verification process when a LinkedIn account is created. All new accounts should require a verified email, phone number and credit card even for a free account. If no credit card exist a viable secondary option should be available like providing a driver's license number or refundable PayPal account payment of $1. We can all do something about fake accounts today! If you see an account that is fake you have the ability to report it on LinkedIn. LinkedIn will close accounts from these reports.
LinkedIn must take massive action now. Many individuals enjoy LinkedIn and find it helpful in their lives and have landed amazing jobs using LI. It has value that transcends the power of the resume and is what makes LI a great tool. At the same time a dark cloud is hovering over the platform through a rising number of bad apples trolling LI. Bolstered detection systems, to deter, prevent and eliminate fake accounts must be implemented. Is it fair for that the majority of fake account closings to come from member's complaints? Is it fair that members do more to locate and alert LinkedIn of active fake accounts then LinkedIn does on its own?
LI should create a Committee of experienced LI members solely to make suggestions and report on safety solutions that could enhance and protect its member's experience. LinkedIn has a great product unlike anything else out there. Fake accounts and anonymous browsing are on the rise and stand to stifle LI's growth and progress. It's time we all take back control of our LI profile and platform, please sign and share the petition on all your social media feed. Please let as many people as possible know of the changes we are trying to bring about. Together we can make a difference and change things for the better!!! Carpe Diem
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