Many people call LinkedIn social media for adults. Instead of focusing on media types like photos, music, or videos, it revolves around career development and professional networking. It connects job seekers with employers. Likewise, it helps connect people working in the same industry. That said, LinkedIn is the social platform for the serious.
Because of that, the platform must detect spam and scams. These things can ruin the future of its users, should they fall victim to them. And the good news is that LinkedIn is improving on that front.
Fake Accounts Problem on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s mission is to connect professionals around the world to make them more productive. However, if the platform makes them manage messages from fake accounts, it does the opposite. Sadly, this is what happens.
Dannie Lynn Fountain is a sales and marketing strategist for Google. In a statement from two years ago, she said she received many LinkedIn messages each week. Most of these are from fake accounts.
She knows they are fake because many of them don’t have photos or job information. And when she searches for those users, another more detailed account appears. That means the one that messaged her is a duplicate, probably not managed by the person who owns that name.
Some fake accounts have photos but are still obviously fake. They use pictures from Google search results. And one account pretending to be actor Dwayne Johnson even put a fake verified checkmark in the photo to appear more legit.
These fake account requests to connect with legitimate accounts. And if they are paying for a LinkedIn Premium, they are even more problematic. They can message users without sending requests.
Reports say fake accounts are becoming more and more common on LinkedIn. And that’s really bad.
Fake accounts of other platforms seek to boost follower counts or spread misinformation. Fake accounts on LinkedIn are there to do phishing scams. If not, they aim to build email lists by creating a vast network of connections and then requesting to download their contacts. Thankfully, LinkedIn unintentionally stopped that. In one update, they limited the feature that allows users to download their contacts. The company says that it did not make the change with fraudulent activity in mind.
How Dangerous are Fake Accounts on LinkedIn
Fake accounts on LinkedIn are extremely dangerous. A study found that most people can’t identify which accounts are legitimate and which are fake. This is the case even when tell-tale signs like incorrect grammar and other things are present. Participants in the study still accepted friend requests from accounts with deepfake photos and Ai-generated text.
LinkedIn has about 830 million members. These fake accounts can fool many of those people. That could lead to financial loss for the person or the company they work in.
And even if they can’t fool these people, managing their requests and messages is still time-consuming. That decreases productivity since the professionals could have spent those minutes on things that actually bring a person’s career or brand forward.
LinkedIn Improves at Blocking Fake Accounts
LinkedIn activity is rising by 34% year-over-year. That’s great news for both professionals and scammers. Its growing user base makes it very appealing to people wanting to spread falsehoods.
In a statement from a few years ago, LinkedIn said that fake accounts violate its terms of service. Thus, the company takes action against them. Often, they permanently restrict that account.
The company said it uses automated techniques, member reporting, and human reviewers to find bad actors. But despite the company’s efforts, there were still plenty of fake accounts on the platform.
According to LinkedIn’s transparency report for the latter half of last year, that has changed. It has improved its detection of fake accounts, spam, scams, and misinformation.
LinkedIn reports that its automated defenses blocked 96% of all fake accounts in the last six months of last year. Furthermore, it stopped the registration attempts of 119 million fake accounts.
LinkedIn’s improved detection technology allowed it to remove fake accounts before a member reports them, the company reports. It resulted in a 19% increase from the previous report – from 3.7 million to 4.4 million.
That does not mean that there are no longer fake accounts on LinkedIn. These reports are based on how much the platform’s system is able to detect. It’s possible – and very likely – that it did not detect all of the fake accounts.
Nevertheless, LinkedIn’s report shows that its detection system has indeed improved. And that’s good news.
Spam, Scams, and Misinformation
LinkedIn’s detection numbers for spam and scams have almost no changes compared to previous reports. However, it has improved in removing misinformation on the platform.
The graphs LinkedIn provided show how better the platform is at handling misinformation now. Two years ago, it dealt with 110,742 cases in the second half. That became 147,490 in the first half of last year. Finally, in the most recent report, it increased to 207,000.
LinkedIn says its improved automated defenses enable it to detect misinformation proactively. Indeed, the rise in these figures is partly because of improved detection. But the increase in activity on LinkedIn made it a great target for misinformation. It could be that misinformation became more common, making it easier to detect.
Dealing With Local Authorities
As with spam and scam detection, government requests for data in the app remained relatively stable versus previous reports. The reports point out that most of the requests came from the US.
It’s worth noting that LinkedIn pulled out of China because of the CCP. So, that is not reflected in this report. Still, it’s an important element when analyzing how LinkedIn deals with local authorities.
Why It’s Important for Linkedin To Get Ahead of the Fake Accounts and Misinformation in 2023
As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn plays a vital role in connecting individuals and businesses in various industries. However, as with any online community, there exists the unfortunate reality of fake accounts and misinformation. As a social media expert, I will delve into why it is imperative that LinkedIn takes a proactive stance in preventing these detrimental phenomena and how it can serve as a bastion of authenticity in the digital realm.
To start with, fake accounts can potentially undermine the platform’s credibility and erode its users’ trust. A fake account can impersonate a real individual or company and use that false identity to disseminate false information or engage in fraudulent activity. This not only harms the reputation of the individual or company being impersonated, but it also undermines the trust of LinkedIn’s users in the authenticity of the connections and information on the platform. Much like a currency, trust is the foundation on which professional networking thrives, and any erosion of that trust can lead to a devaluation of the entire system.
Furthermore, misinformation has the potential to propagate on the platform, polluting the flow of information and causing confusion among users. In the professional realm, correct and accurate information is of the utmost importance, and the dissemination of false information can lead to flawed decision-making and negative consequences for businesses and individuals. Just like the ancient Greek parable of the “Boy who cried Wolf,” where the boy’s constant false alarm calls led the village not to believe him when a real wolf came, misinformation can cause users not to trust the information on the platform and develop a cynicism which is detrimental for the platform.
Additionally, fake accounts and misinformation can also create a breeding ground for malicious actors to exploit the platform for nefarious purposes, such as phishing, malware dissemination, and espionage. As LinkedIn serves as a platform for professionals to connect, share information and collaborate, a proliferation of fake accounts and misinformation can turn it into a digital “Wild West” where it’s impossible to know who and what to trust. Much like how a castle without a powerful guard is open to any invader, a platform without proper security measures will be open to any digital attacker.
In light of these considerations, it is imperative that LinkedIn takes a proactive stance in preventing fake accounts and misinformation on its platform. This can include implementing robust verification processes, utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect and remove fake accounts and misinformation, and providing users with tools and resources to identify and report such content.
The Bottom Line
These statistics show that LinkedIn’s detection system for fake accounts and misinformation is improving. However, no one can say exactly how much because it does not detect everything. So, stay vigilant when on the platform. Don’t trust users you don’t know personally easily. It’s much easier to instead buy Twitter followers under Elon’s new toy!