LinkedIn privacy concerns are in the spotlight… again.

The professional networking giant has denied charges in a federal lawsuit that says its users’ email accounts were compromised and the addresses of their contacts were collected in order to send marketing messages. The suit says that Gmail, Yahoo and other email accounts were accessed by LinkedIn.

The suit was prompted by users who were complaining that their account was sending invitations to their contacts without their permission or knowledge. The suit claims even contacts from Craigslist – total strangers – were being invited without the users’ OK.

LinkedIn fully denies the charges, stating that the allegations of hacking or breaking into email accounts are false.

Regardless, many users are coming forward to say it has become too easy to accidentally click “select all” when the site prompts them to invite their entire address book.

“If you are not careful, hundreds of invitations can go out — no second thoughts or cooling-off period provided,” said New York Times’ Vindu Goel.

The allegations bring to light the overall issues with LinkedIn privacy. Although it can be a wonderful tool for building relationships, LinkedIn messaging and invitations have been abused by MANY a user.

The initial purpose of LinkedIn was to open us up to two-way relationships, but it’s become bombarded with pushy recruiters, marketers and salespeople, turning many people off to responding to Inmail and invites at all.

Not to mention it’s incredibly difficult to decipher true intent through Inmail.  How many times has the receiving party of your message misinterpreted the tone or intent of your message?

Have you had issues with LinkedIn and your connections? What other issues do we need to look out for when safely utilizing this resource?


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