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I receive numerous LinkedIn connection requests on a daily basis, many of which I delete. The reason why I delete the requests is I have no idea in some instances if the person is real or fake. There is a lot of personal information contained in our LinkedIn profiles which we blindly give up when accepting connection requests. I have five suggestions which LinkedIn should consider.
1. Remove access to contact details
As a Premium user, LinkedIn provides me with functionality to extract all the contact details of my connections. This is a great feature but in the interests of LinkedIn users, I suggest that LinkedIn removes this function. I am pretty sure there are more people using this to extract personal information to spam other LinkedIn users or to sell the information. Individual contact details should be stored on LinkedIn however they can be revealed upon request.
2. Conduct verification checks
LinkedIn should conduct a more rigorous verification check on individuals. One way is to insist that a person enters their national identity number which gets checked by LinkedIn to verify the person’s identity. There are a number of service providers, one of these being http://www.idchecker.com/ . I do not believe that the onus and responsibility of verifying identity should be placed solely on individual LinkedIn users.
3. Minimum requirements on LinkedIn profiles
I have noted on fake accounts (I have managed to identify) that they do not contain much information. LinkedIn should insist on a bare minimum before an account can be activated. I don’t believe this will stop fake accounts but it will make it more difficult to create fake accounts. LinkedIn should block existing accounts and contact these users with an instruction to complete additional information before their account will be activated again.
4. LinkedIn users to be nominated
Before joining a country club, the person applying for membership has to be nominated. LinkedIn should include this as part of the registration process. The person joining LinkedIn will have to request nominations from existing LinkedIn members before they may continue with their registration process.
5. Algorithm which monitors online activity
LinkedIn has access to enough information to create an algorithm which can determine whether online activity associated with a real or fake user. The nefarious characters who create fake LinkedIn accounts do the bare minimum in order to get connected.
What are your views? I am pretty sure that some of my connections are fake and I will be very pleased to hear from LinkedIn on how they plan to delete these accounts. Are my suggestions viable? Is LinkedIn already doing something about the fake accounts that I am unaware of?
Image: Eric Conover via Flickr.