LinkedIn Anti-Stalking Feature Implemented
For years I have heard dozens of clients complain about their former boss, peer, or exes (ex-boyfriend, ex-wife) constantly looking at their profile on LinkedIn. Some people just cannot let go of the past and feel compelled to watch every update, profile change, job move, endorsement gained, etc., in an attempt to stay involved in their victim’s life in some capacity. Most social media sites have advanced privacy settings to block unknown or meddlesome individuals from viewing profile information. But how can you set restrictions for profiles on a professional site that is meant for networking? An article written by BuzzFeedin in 2013, called LinkedIn out on its lack of privacy settings and the inability for users to block other members.
The BuzzFeed article was spurred by a female LinkedIn member named Anna R., who was being stalked through LinkedIn by a sexual predator from a previous occupation and had had enough. She started a petition to encourage LinkedIn to add a blocking feature for their members to use when someone consistently kept harassing them with messages, invites, or just prowling on their profile. Prowling is when a LinkedIn stalker visits the profile of another member every day, causing that member to be informed of the stalker’s visits with the feature “Who’s Viewed Your Profile.”
Anna was not the only woman who had experienced such activity on LinkedIn. Other women had also been stalked, hit on, and even threatened. A woman concerned about sharing personal information on LinkedIn because of the increasing stalking problem wrote in the website’s community forum, “No I don’t want to set my whole profile to private, why should I block other potential professional connections to be able to find me?” The Tumblr account SocialCreeps.com was created by an Arizona based interactive social media strategist after she and her sister received over 250 inappropriate comments on LinkedIn and other networking sites within a 12 month period. The site allows women to post crude or unprofessional messages they receive through social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Months went by, and Anna R.’s petition gained thousands of signatures with little problem to submit to LinkedIn. Fortunately LinkedIn listened to their organized members and added a “Block or Report” feature. It’s similar to other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc., with some added tangible blocking factors that are unique to LinkedIn’s platform.
Lets explore this new function and how it impacts your profile’s visibility to others.
When you identify an individual on LinkedIn whom you wish to block from viewing your profile, visit their LinkedIn profile and find the down arrow to the right of the “Message” or “Connect” button.
When you hover over the arrow, a pull down submenu with several options will appear. Select “Block or Report” towards the bottom of the menu.
You will be asked to choose specifically whether to block or report their profile. In most cases you will likely use the Block option. However, the Report feature is commonly used when you wish to report to LinkedIn a very inappropriate, nude, or insulting photo, or when individuals are blatantly misrepresenting themselves.
As you select “Continue,” LinkedIn kindly offers you one more chance to consider the action you have chosen. LinkedIn explains how the Report or Block option will affect your profile and how LinkedIn will prevent the blocked individual from viewing you. People within your network will not be notified that you have blocked or reported another LinkedIn member.
Notice LinkedIn informs you of what will happen:
* Neither you nor the person you blocked will be able to access the other’s LinkedIn profile.
* Any connection through LinkedIn will be undone.
* Any endorsements or recommendations made by the blocked member will be removed from your profile.
* You will not be able to message one another on LinkedIn.
* The “Whose viewed Your Profile” feature will no longer show they looked at your profile because they never viewed it – you blocked them.
* LinkedIn will stop suggesting the blocked user in the ‘People You May Know’ and ‘People also Viewed’ sections.
This new Block feature is helpful in occasions when you know exactly who you wish to block. However, it does not work when you wish to block someone that is anonymous, as you cannot identify them. I am sure there are some LinkedIn users who will be disappointed with the lack of control in blocking those who choose to remain anonymous.
The line of privacy is a tricky one. When you opt into a social media network with hundreds of millions of users, you have to give up a certain level of privacy. Social media members who savor privacy and online security should constantly check their privacy settings on all channels and be sure not to include the following: birth year, home address, home phone number, personal email, or zip code they reside in. Being so private defeats the purpose of being social you live like a hermit crab in the mass body of ocean call Social Media!
Everyone deserves the right to use LinkedIn as a professional networking tool and should not be dissuaded from joining for fear of running into a stalker or being harassed. Just use good judgment in what you share and who you share it with.
What other types of people would you block besides creeps and execs?
About the Author
William Blackmon is founder and CEO of Apogee Social Media Group. His knowledge and experience specific to the LinkedIn platform, has made him one of the most sought after trainers and consultants for individuals, companies, and universities in the area. William is an entrepreneur and open networker willing to accept your invitation to connect if you personalize your message stating how you found his name and what he can do to assist you. Click on picture to send invite.