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Social Networks Privacy

LinkedIn Agrees To Block Stalkers 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-following-me dept.
sholto writes "When Buzzfeed wrote about LinkedIn's stalker problem in June, LinkedIn claimed it had enough privacy tools "to effectively minimize unwanted connections". But a petition by a 24-year-old Ohio woman sexually assaulted by her boss and harassed through the network appears to have won the day for privacy advocates. LinkedIn said it was adding a blocking feature to protect members against stalkers. 'I can confirm that we’re in the process of building (a block feature),' responded Paul Rockwell, head of trust and safety at LinkedIn to a post in LinkedIn’s help forum called 'Stalking on LinkedIn'. 'Users on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other sites can easily block other users. LinkedIn appears to be an outlier among other top social media sites,' said petitioner Anna R."
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LinkedIn Agrees To Block Stalkers

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  • by locofungus (179280) on Monday September 30, 2013 @10:09AM (#44992237)

    The buzzfeed article appears to be:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/justinesharrock/linkedin-has-a-stalker-problem [buzzfeed.com]

    • Sounds like the editors should have... *glasses* LinkedIn to the buzzfeed article. Yeeeooww...

      *cough*

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      The other link appears to be:
      http://community.linkedin.com/questions/23572/stalking-on-linkedin.html?sort=oldest [linkedin.com]

      Paul Rockwell Aug 20 at 04:19 PM

      Hi everyone, my name is Paul Rockwell, and I head up Trust & Safety here at LinkedIn.

      I'd like to start by acknowledging the ongoing demand for a block feature, and I can confirm that weâ(TM)re in the process of building one. We've heard you, and we both recognize and appreciate the need for privacy controls in this digital age, which is why we remain committed to placing the controls in your hands.

  • I thought LinkedIn was just a job search tool for recruiters and the unemployed. Do people blog on that thing?
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      You can add people you know into your network as well as post updates and other things. It has many features of other social networks.
    • After reading the story it makes more sense. Even if you don't use it as a social network people can still use it to stalk. They can send you messages. Find out who your coworkers are. Find out where you work.
    • I thought LinkedIn was just a job search tool for recruiters and the unemployed. Do people blog on that thing?

      Your former blowhard colleagues will be found there still blowing their own horns about promotions and accomplishments, real or exaggerated.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Until they do, they are not blocking the worst stalker.

  • Plugging your info into a public website makes that info public.

    • I'm not sure how the block is supposed to work. The buzzfeed article is on about how people are able to see where people live etc but I don't see how a block will help.

      The block that seems to be being asked for is to block particular people - but anyone who wants to stalk someone can just register with a different account.

    • Plugging your info into a public website makes that info public.

      And therein lies the problem. Allegedly, it's for business and employment "networking". But if no one can see your info, you can't "network" with them and they can't with you. If you're hoping that an employer might come along, see you as a potential candidate and give you a call, then you can't hide your resume under a bushel.

      In reality, I don't know if anyone actually finds a job or other opportunity that way. All I ever experienced was seeing current and former colleagues bragging about promotions and ot

      • The employment angle is just the marketting hook to get people to participate. The site's real value is to sales reps looking for leads.

        Set your title to something that sounds like you're a purchasing decision maker and you'll be amazed at the attention you suddenly get.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        as someone job hunting right now for a ERP position Ive actually found linkdin to be pretty helpful vs other job posting sites. its a step up from a normal job posting site but a step below a recruiter IMO. but than again YMMV
        • by gorzek (647352)

          Yeah, I get a lot of job leads from LinkedIn, too, and they're almost always unsolicited. It's usually not shot-in-the-dark stuff that I'm not qualified for, either. They're targeted inquiries. I like it.

          • by Stiletto (12066)

            For me, the unsolicited job leads from LinkedIn are obviously targeted, but poorly. I've got 12+ years of progressively senior embedded programming + mobile programming experience listed, and I recently (~3 yrs) transitioned up the chain into management. What do 95% of my LinkedIn job inquiries look like?

            "I noticed you have MOBILE development in your background. We are looking to fill the position of THIRD JUNIOR DEVELOPER FROM THE LEFT - ANDROID OS. I would love to chat with you about this amazing opportun

      • by Kjella (173770)

        I probably don't do networking right, but I couldn't see the value of it.

        Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 40% of all jobs are never offered to the public, 30% are filled with a person already known to the employer and only 30% are filled by total strangers. However, the often quoted number that 70% of all jobs happen through networking is dubious at best. Managers, past and present coworkers and anyone else you come in contact with through your work will have some opinion of your skill and work performance even if you've made no effort to network at all, simply

      • Agreed. I gave linkedin a try some years ago, until they suggested a professional contact of a specialist doctor I had recently seen. I can only assume the doc wasn't up to code on HIPAA or something, but I found it unnerving and useless. The only frustration I experience now, not being a member, is attempting to look up basic information for people whose only web presence is on linkedin.
  • A "stalker" label that could be applied to a user's profile--after due process resulting in an actual court order. That would get the user off linkedin, because it would become useless to him.

  • by craznar (710808) on Monday September 30, 2013 @10:39AM (#44992567) Homepage

    People need to be careful putting pictures on their Linked In account and on their Facebook etc accounts.

    Google image search will quickly identify you on all the sites you use the same picture on.

  • by stickrnan (1290752) on Monday September 30, 2013 @10:40AM (#44992575)

    ...for harassment?

    Honestly, since this is a "professional" network, maybe there should be a way to note someone's lack of professionalism?

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      +1

    • I agree. This isn't Facebook after all; people on LinkedIn tend to be more business task oriented. Of course, bloking someone is a great option, but if they are stalking you, social networks are the least of your issues. I can find out anything I want on anyone for the low low price of 29.95.... LOL I joke, but when are they going to put controls on some of the "background check" services? They are giving out the same personal information, culled from many sources (including social networks) at a muc
  • Complicated. (Score:5, Informative)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@@@keirstead...org> on Monday September 30, 2013 @10:42AM (#44992605) Homepage

    I feel like I need to explain something to people who may not use LinkedIn but use other social networks. LinkedIn has this feature that tells you when your profile has been viewed. If you have the "pro" version, it even tells you WHO has viewed your profile, unless that person has their settings set otherwise. The reason for this is because it is mostly a tool for job seekers and professionals; knowing someone has viewed your profile might be a good conversation starter at that company..

    Secondly, large parts of people's profiles (namely, their work history) at LinkedIn are typically public to a large degree. This is because if you have your profile locked down to only friends, then a head hunter will never see you, so it limits the use of the service.

    Now what this woman is complaining about is this. The person who harassed her would, every single day, check her LinkedIn profile. This would, in turn, send her an alert, saying that he viewed it.

    What she wants LinkedIn to do, is not block him from viewing her profile - that makes no sense because her profile is public. What she wants them to do is stop having the alerts go through. IE - she doesn't seem to care that this guy can see her profile - she just doesn't want to know about it.

    I can see both sides of this. From her point of view, this is just another way that this guy is causing her grief. From LinkedIn's point of view, it is a strange request and may be difficult to implement architecturally, because you want the information to remain public, and want the alerts to remain, but only not alert for this specific black-list of people.

    • You are only half-right. I read that Linked-in is planning to expand into universities and such. As a result, it is only a matter of time before Linked-in has to implement blocking feature.

      they are going to shoot at their feet eventually.

      • Explain what you mean by blocking and how it would be implemented, because it doesn't work the way you seem to think it does at services like say Twitter. When you "block" someone on twitter, it does not stop that person from viewing your public tweets. All it stops them from doing is following you and sending you DM messages. They can still see all your public tweets - because they are PUBLIC. Why on earth would one care if block something to one user that is posted to the public. All they'd need to do to

        • You are only a quarter right. A block on twitter also stops you retweeting, which is stupid because the info is public (though you could argue that the user being retweeted doesn't want to know about it, in which case there would be need for reprogramming. A twitter block also makes it harder to follow conversations (fortunately you can do so my opening the link in a new tab - haha @Asher_Wolf
    • From a programmers perspective such a feature is not complicated. It may be complicated to explain to users. It also doesn't solve the problem. Her going to the police is the more long term solution.
      • by brunes69 (86786)

        It depends a lot on how their back-end is pipelined. What seems simple I can see being actually quite complicated, depending on how they have things implemented.

      • Depending on the stalker's actions and location, the police may do nothing. My wife and I were harassed by a woman online (long story but she's quite crazy: thinks she's a prophet of god etc etc etc). It was hard to deal with because we're in the US and she's in Canada. Eventually, she harassed someone in Canada who took legal action but even then all that happened was that the police stopped by and TOLD HER who reported her. (Like that wasn't going to make her double her efforts to harass the people "g

      • by fa2k (881632)

        Sure it solves the problem. No more spam for the victim, the stalker may find better things to do, or maybe he doesn't even realise he's blocked and continues wasting his own time but nobody else's.

        The police are notoriously bad at dealing with these things. IMO, that's not bad. The stalker is really a spammer at worst. The police can't just go and extrapolate that and arrest him for ponentially being a murderer in the future. I was being teased by someone for a period of months while at school, I'd love to

    • by tag (22464)

      What she wants them to do is stop having the alerts go through. IE - she doesn't seem to care that this guy can see her profile - she just doesn't want to know about it.

      From what you're saying, what she really needs is a filtering rule on her email. Much faster and cheaper to implement.

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        What she wants them to do is stop having the alerts go through. IE - she doesn't seem to care that this guy can see her profile - she just doesn't want to know about it.

        From what you're saying, what she really needs is a filtering rule on her email. Much faster and cheaper to implement.

        Indeed flames > /dev/null has always been the best way to deal with trolls.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      If turning off notifications from a black list of people is architecturally difficult, then LinkedIn has bigger issues.
  • Two separate times over a couple years I have gone into my linked-in profile and de-selected ALL the "email you this" and "email you that" options.

    I kept getting email notifications for large numbers of things. (Yes, I waited 7+ days after each profile change.)

    TWICE I've gone to their technical support staff. TWICE they've failed to figure out how to configure their systems to not send me e-mail notifications. The second time they flat out apologized for not being able to do it successfully, they were ab

  • I think it's great that we've found LinkedIn users besides lazy recruiters doing their trolling. LinkedIn is such a vast wasteland of nothing that I applaud the stalkers for doing something useful with it. Since joining LinkedIn a few years ago, I have discovered no useful use for the site at all. The only contacts I've ever gotten are from recruiters who search the LinkedIn database for some combination of zip code and skills and troll me.

  • Different Profile (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EMG at MU (1194965) on Monday September 30, 2013 @12:17PM (#44993703)
    Why wouldn't he just create another profile? Maybe one that looks like some generic recruiter at some generic recruiting company. I get notifications about people like that all the time. How can you differentiate between a stalker and the normal creepers/hr agents on linked in?
    • by iggymanz (596061)

      that's trivial, don't connect with any recruiter/headhunter choads. You do have your search-engine friendly resume online on your own website right? with "No Recruiters" at the top?

      That's been working for me for 15 years, to hell with recruiters.

      • that's trivial, don't connect with any recruiter/headhunter choads. You do have your search-engine friendly resume online on your own website right? with "No Recruiters" at the top?

        That's been working for me for 15 years, to hell with recruiters.

        Not connecting to "choads" is not a solution because the whole idea of the site is that your profile is visible and that people not connected to you can see it.

        How *I* use or don't use the site is irrelevant, I was just pointing out that she's probably going to be playing whack-a-mole with fake accounts: block one and another pops up. If someone want's to stalk you, linked in is pretty much the perfect place.

  • Now what will I do for fun?

  • Is there nothing the meatspace police can do? Stalking is stalking, regardless of the methods used. The intent is the same.

  • If people are being harassed in linked.in, whats the difficult part of erasing the profile? The truth is linked.in anti-contact or anti-spam measures are largely non-existent or work very badly, or endorsements are critically flawed and you can't freeze/block/pre-aprove them because linked.in wants the network to grow as large as possible no matter what. It is their business model.

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