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Linkedin Turns Blind Eye to Harassment and Stalking Reports. Sells Profiles. Makes Billions. by @1000Girlfriends

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by Kathy Scott | Featured Contributor

This is a cautionary tale for women. As a social media strategist, I am a member of just about every platform and I enthusiastically use them. Linkedin is the ONLY one where I consistently have had issues with harassment, inappropriate advances and unprofessional conduct. What’s more, Linkedin has done little to address the rapidly growing concerned voices of women – Linkedin has a Stalker Problem, The 11 Creepiest Things about Linkedin. In fact, they put us in even more danger by selling our profile to whoever pays to access their new Sales Navigator tool.

Let’s log into my account so I can show you some of the issues women face because Linkedin’s management and board are more interested in how they can pimp a profile instead of put proper privacy controls in place.

restri

RESTRICTED! I was put in this status after I got tired of being harassed by a man whose profile claimed the title of “managing director” of an investment firm, but he publicly and privately wrote comments like a common misogynist thug. I was called from Linkedin’s offices and told that his behavior was not out of line, allowing me to conclude some relationship exists between  management or board online and the man with the dislike of women . Here is a taste of his prose:

M.S. (his initials are M.S.) Managing Director -Your thesis statement is “the suggestion that our lives can be altered by Facebook posts is completely absurd.” Are you truly will to defend your assertion that people’s lives are unaffected by the inputs they receive?! Wowzer Lady, there’s millions of psychologists you’ll need to catch up on your new “reality. (And your answer to Simon is laughable. I mean, I literally made noise I laughed so hard. “That evidence pre-dates Facebook.” That’s like saying “If you give someone feces in a red bag, and it smells, all evidence is suddenly irrelevant if we witch to a blue bag.” You’re a hoot. You’ll love TMZ, by the way – just your speed of “journalism.”

This is a professional?

I’m picking out his best stuff. Sadly the post I wrote was pretty good and was viewed by over 22,000 people. As it rose higher, he got even more agitated.

Friends who care about cyber bullying, remember...Every time we comment on this article, we unwittingly lift this flimflam out of her obscurity. Let’s don’t promote cyber bullying by elevating this reprehensible click-junkie. Instead of commenting, just follow the link below, and tell Linkedin that you care about cyber bullying, and that we don’t come to Linkedin to see charlatans thumbing their nose at science in order to froth “market” themselves. Follow this link instead, and tell Linkedin that ignorance of cyber bullying has no place on Linkedin

https://help.linkedin.com/app/ask

I have no idea where the bullying suggestion came from. People on the thread did step up and call him a bully, but he was erratic and his need to destroy me apparent. I did not engage with him in conversation until he looked at my profile.

This is where Linkedin has a responsibility. No one is supposed to be able to view another person’s profile without being connected. Not  only can they view it, Linkedin is selling it.  The company’s Terms of Service was labeled one of the worst by CNNMoney.

To see how you’re being manipulated, you need to start with the one line in their privacy policy: We protect your personal information and will only provide it to third parties: (1) with your consent;

Sounds great because you would never give your consent, right? Wrong. When you create a profile, you agree to Linkedin’s Terms of Service. 2.2 is important because this is where you give up everything and consent:

2.2. License and warranty for your submissions to LinkedIn

You still own what you own, but you grant us a license to the content and/or information you provide us. [FOR FREE – DEMAND TO BE PAID FOR THIS]

As between you and LinkedIn, you own the content and information you provide LinkedIn under this Agreement, and may request its deletion at any time, unless you have shared information or content with others and they have not deleted it, or it was copied or stored by other users. Additionally, you grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and/or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties.

IS THAT ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU SHUT DOWN YOUR ACCOUNT YET? No. Read on.

2.2 (cont) We will respect the choices you make about who gets to see your information and content.

Pursuant to this license, LinkedIn may grant other Members and/or Visitors access and share rights to your content and information in accordance with this Agreement, your settings and degree of connection with them.

200 million non-U.S., 100 million U.S. Linkedin users. Access is just a few coins away.

Lastly, when you are viewed  by others, there is the option to go stealth or anonymous,something that does not sit well with many Linkedin customers. As one user stated in a forum thread: “This is a site specifically created for networking only. Why would anyone choose to be anonymous if they are just reviewing your information to see if a connection would help him or her to find a job/internship/advice/etc? These anonymous people are just out to do bad things or stalk people.”

That is true, Linkedin’s User Agreement clearly states:

1.1. Purpose

The mission of LinkedIn is to connect the world’s professionals to enable them to be more productive and successful. To achieve our mission, we make services available through our websites, mobile applications, and developer platforms, to help you, your connections, and millions of other professionals meet, exchange ideas, learn, make deals, find opportunities or employees, work, and make decisions in a network of trusted relationships and groups.

Admittedly, none of this came to light until I was harassed by a Linkedin friend of management who likes to bully women? people? for sport when they post thoughtful articles. When M.S. began creeping on my Linkedin profile, I sent him  a  pathetically weak Inmail: “STAY AWAY FROM ME. DO NOT LOOK AT MY PROFILE. DON’T COMMENT ON ANY MORE OF MY POSTS. LEAVE ME ALONE.”

Of course the man responded and no we were not connected or “linked.” He claimed he was trying to block me EVEN THOUGH I had not once written a reply to his posts. He had latched on to me for some obsessive reason and I was becoming frightened. I reached out to Dallas Law Enforcement and they weren’t sure where to send obnoxious business person cyberspace complaints. So I channeled Sean Connery and sent M.S. a note from my husband:  “This is Kathy’s husband. Do not connect with her again.” Sandwich in between were the phrases “You piece of crap (no cursing) and “I’ve sent your info to my guys in Dallas.”

M.S. showed complete consciousness of guilt, and deleted him emails. He then forwarded my “guys” email to Linkedin and said he had been threatened. Hours later, my account was suspended. Christy from Linkedin called me to discuss the situation. She said I frightened M.S. and that I could return to Linked in, but only after I promised not to engage him. I told Christy I had no intention of connecting, but I wanted assurances that M.S. would be reprimanded for his behavior.

And then this happened:

“What would I reprimand him for? He didn’t do anything wrong.”

That was when I began my crusade to expose the good ole’ boy playground that Linkedin is and obviously will remain. Here’s the most important part, Linkedin has updated its Terms of Service to include 13 year-old children:

Updated User Agreement

We are updating our User Agreement to make LinkedIn available to students 13 years and older, depending on country. Smart, ambitious students are already thinking about their futures when they step foot into high school – where they want to go to college, what they want to study, where they want to live and work. 

THIS IS NOT OK. Time to take ownership of yourself back. You’re being sold and Linkedin’s management and directors are making billions. Now they want to exploit kids.

My account remains closed until further notice.

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Me and My 1000 Girlfriends, That’s Who!
Women’s Party of America brand

Kathy ScottKathy Scott launched Me and My 1000 Girlfriends, That’s Who!  in 2011 as a Facebook community of women poised to assist each other when asked to create and distribute emails, phone calls or letters.  City council members, senators and governors were recipients of communication including Florida politicians interested in creating controversial 2011 Teacher Merit Pay Legislation, which planned to tie teacher salaries to students’ grades. The move would have hurt some underperforming low income areas where many teachers most wanted to teach, but would be unable to do so with the low pay rate. The legislation was hotly debated with 1000 Girlfriends doing their best to communicate to legislators. The law was later vetoed by Governor Crist.

Scott can be heard every Wednesday evening at 7pm ET at the Women on the Move Blog Talk Radio program. She recently launched her clothing and premium design – Women’s Party of America available on her Website under the Shop tab.  Her success mantra is: Failure is not an option. Connect with 1000 Girlfriends on Twitter and at Facebook.

2 Replies to “Linkedin Turns Blind Eye to Harassment and Stalking Reports. Sells Profiles. Makes Billions. by @1000Girlfriends”

  1. Judy - Pedagogical Artist

    Hi Kathy,
    I read your post with great concern. I too have recently been a victim of foul play on LinkedIn and yea, have witnessed unethical and even abusive comments within some discussions.

    Having said that, when putting yourself out there into the world, you are willingly exposing yourself and with all the good (and there is lots of that), you may fall prey to others’ misery and become their punching bag.

    You do seem to be handling the matter the best you can. I most certainly empathize with your pain, anger and frustration and applaud your courage and determination.

    HUGS <3

    1. Kathy Scott[ Post Author ]

      Thank you, Judy. You are right, people do love to criticize! But as you said, there are many that equally are kind and supportive. I hope you worked your issue out with Linkedin. I’m very concerned that they are adding accounts for kids 13+ with the same User Agreements.

      I will continue to push for more openness, but in the end, people will need to decide what they’re willing to accept.

      Thanks for your post and Hugs! xxxooo

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