The biggest Pandora's box in the history of LinkedIn threatens to open in the near future

  (photo credit: Channel 14)
(photo credit: Channel 14)

In the latest of online trends, LinkedIn users are creating profiles falsely advertising themselves as employees of well-known companies and businesses. 

On August 14, 2022, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted that over 7,000 people are listed on LinkedIn as being employees of his company when, in fact, he only employs around 50 people. This means that over 6,900 LinkedIn profiles promote false information. This fast-moving trend appears to have no oversight and is certainly alarming.

It is important to note that this phenomenon is not new on LinkedIn. From the onset, LinkedIn has allowed us the option to update our profiles at any time. However, recent challenges faced by LinkedIn during this past year and CEO, Changpeng Zhao’s tweet has highlighted the concerns now posed for LinkedIn and its users.

How significant is this issue?

In order to really examine the situation, we must consider that as the leader in online safety, LinkedIn has become the preferred target of cybercriminals. As such, LinkedIn has been "in pursuit" of fictitious and suspicious profiles and has permanently closed over 32 million LinkedIn accounts in the past year alone.  If after all LinkedIn has done to improve the situation, this phenomenon, as reported by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, is indeed occurring, then we are in trouble.

The LinkedIn Dilemma

This new situation of course raises a new dilemma. First, we have a dysfunctional "user experience" on LinkedIn. Paying users such as campaign managers of sponsored promotions are targeting the wrong users and in cases like that of Changpeng Zhao CEO of Binance, disinformation about the size of companies can lead to numerous repercussions for those businesses and it damages the credibility of LinkedIn. Second, after LinkedIn changed its policy to include strict regulations, many legitimate existing users on LinkedIn have felt a negative effect on the user experience.

What can we expect from LinkedIn?

Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has consistently shown that it knows how to make changes and since its acquisition by Microsoft, we have seen that changes and upgrades come down very quickly. Having said that, LinkedIn has not yet announced or hinted to any possibility that it will provide admins of membership pages the possibility to confirm who works in their company.

Admittedly, this is a complex feature that involves further investment from LinkedIn but there are a few options available. LinkedIn could simply choose to leave things as they are. The platform already has a rigid policy, however strengthening the policy a little more could help ease the problem of fake information. Finally, LinkedIn could address the issue head on and find a specific solution. Whatever happens, LinkedIn will certainly provide a response, as it always does.