Is LinkedIn the Creepiest Social Network?

  • LinkedIn1

LinkedIn1We’ve all seen the suggestions for “people you may know” or “people you are connected to” pop up on LinkedIn. These are the algorithms that scan your social networks for people you are connected to, and suggests others that you may already know that you can add to your network. While this is a great way to expand your social or professional network, have you ever noticed that sometimes it may be a bit too creepy who they suggest? In a post at Gizmodo entitled “Is LinkedIn the Creepiest Social Network?”, David Veldt says he’s noticed the same thing

In the post David does some intense digging into just how LinkedIn suggested both his ex-girlfriend’s brother, as well as his cousin with the same last name, arriving at the conclusion that LinkedIn is tracking his search history on the site, as well as the search history of others, and combining them to produce the “people you may know” list.

Let’s dig a little deeper. LinkedIn’s Help Centre says that their suggested persons feature is based on two factors:

– Commonalities between you and other members. For example, you may have common connections, similar profile information and experiences, work at the same company or in the same industry, or attended the same school.

– Members you’ve imported from other address books in your Contacts list.

Note: This list is updated when you download contacts from other email address books using the Add Connections feature. We do not scan your emails or email account to suggest results.

It seems that LinkedIn’s search algorithm reaches far and wide to suggest users for you. The argument made here is that while this may be fine for suggesting users to grow your network, there’s no telling how they are accessing this data, or what limitations are put in place for them to sell this data to advertisers.

What do you think? Are you ok with LinkedIn searching your data to suggest users? Or is it an overstepping of boundaries? Reply or comment below.