Tuesday, October 22, 2019

LinkedIns New TOS Its Personal

LinkedIns New TOS Its Personal Last week, LinkedIn released a preview of its new Terms of Service which will go into effect in May. As I read through the new terms, it got me thinking about the experiences Ive had on LinkedIn and how they relate to LinkedIns new TOS - and of course about how these terms will affect my readers. LinkedIn Messaging Violations Abound Just yesterday, the following invitation request came into my LinkedIn account from the CEO of LawMatch.com: Hi Brenda. As a member of legal industry Id like to add you to my LinkedIN network. Im the CEO of LawMatch where we make it a priority to support law firms and legal employers like you. I look forward to networking with you on LinkedIN. In case it wasnt clear, I am neither a law firm nor a legal employer, so whatever or whomever sent me that message (Im assuming it was not really a personal message from the CEO) missed the mark big time. Heres another message, received from someone named Christopher Moore, â€Å"Manager at Machinery Trader†: Hi Brenda, Thanks for connecting with me here on LinkedIn. I must comment that you are a very pretty womanYouve got this cute smile that can melt an iceberg.Hope you dont mind my comment ? How is the weather in your city? Chris Im not sure which one of these messages made me angrier. The first one appears to be generated by a bot, and, well, the second one speaks for itself. At least both Sallie and Chris had the decency to write to me on LinkedIn where I am protected to some extent by LinkedIns Terms of Service. I can block and report both of them. In contrast, I have been completely unprotected when, on at least two occasions, I received messages similar to Chriss directly in my regular e-mail inbox. These letters came from men explicitly claiming to have gotten my information from LinkedIn, but LinkedIn said they had no power over the users because the messages were sent outside of LinkedIn. How LinkedIns New TOS Protects Against Unwanted Messages I believe LawMatchs message was spam generated by a bot, so I was able to report it. And I discovered as I was blocking Chris that LinkedIn has a new option allowing me to state that  the message makes me uncomfortable, threatened or harassed. Thankfully, LinkedIns Terms of Service say that both of the above messages violate LinkedIns policies. If indeed a bot was used on the first one, it violates the following rule in the Dos and Donts: DONT: Use bots or other automated methods to access the Services, add or download contacts, send or redirect messages. The second â€Å"romantic† message violates several other agreements: DO: Use the Services in a professional manner. DONT: Harass, abuse or harm another person; DONT: Act in an unlawful or unprofessional manner in connection with our Services†¦ Interestingly, LinkedIn does not make specific reference to the inappropriate use of LinkedIn as a way to harass women or solicit romantic connections. I hope they add something about it in their Professional Community Guidelines. Im going to request that. Both messages also violate the following current preclusions: DONT: Invite people you do not know to join your network. DONT: Use LinkedIn invitations to send messages to people who dont know you or who are unlikely to recognize you as a known contact. We all know how well those rules are going (pretty much everyone violates them as a network building method), and you will be happy to see that the violation has been taken off the donts list in the upcoming May 2018 revision of LinkedIns Terms of Service. Also taken off the list of donts: DONT: Use or attempt to use anothers account. If Im reading it correctly, this means my assistant can log in to my account without fear that the account will be summarily closed. There are some things you just cant control, even if youre LinkedIn. Im happy they have acknowledged that people are going to invite and communicate with people they dont know, and that people with businesses are going to get support to manage their profiles. Sadly, while LinkedIn might be able to stop the bots, they cant prevent wayward users from abusing the privilege of access to LinkedIns huge professional network. Im grateful for those blocking and reporting options, and believe me, I will continue to use them! How about you? Have you experienced LinkedIn violations and how have you handled them? What do you think of LinkedIns new Terms of Service? To get the latest from my blog on LinkedIn topics like this, sign up for my LinkedIn Professional Writing e-list.

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