Newsflash: LinkedIn Monitors Our "Private Messages"

Sherry McGuinn

I wish I was fabricating this, but I'm not.
Image by Rob Enslin/Flickr.Com

Do you know what feels absolutely awful? Waking up in the morning to find an email from a friend alerting you to the fact that the so-called "professional community" website commonly known as LinkedIn, is spying on us.

Now, I'm not so naive that I don't understand that nothing these days is truly private, but in LinkedIn's own policy statement, it says that private, direct messages between community members are just that.

Well, guess what? They lied.

My new friend is a very kind, articulate individual with whom I bonded over our shared frustration with the religious zealots and overtly sexual posts that have taken over the platform. So, we’ve been communicating rather regularly. As she doesn’t live in the States, we get in touch primarily via email, but also on LinkedIn's direct messaging feature.

Last night, my friend and I were messaging one another about nothing in particular, certainly nothing that would inflame the LinkedIn powers that be. Again, this is a site that brands itself as “professional” but is really the new Facebook. As well as Tinder. In short, we engaged in a fairly mundane conversation, but, apparently, there was a third party involved. LinkedIn!!

In all the years that I've been a LinkedIn member (not "Premium," mind you as I wouldn't pay them a cent), I never imagined that I was being violated in such a fashion. Although, ever since my temporary suspension on LinkedIn, for expressing my opinions, there have been some very bizarre happenings. For example, my profile picture disappears and then magically, reappears. As do some of my posts.

I can deal with immature "party games" like that, but, this latest, massive invasion of my privacy has me reeling. I have not been able to think straight since viewing the following this morning, a direct message from LinkedIn to my friend after I bid her “good night.”

  • If the content in this message is unwanted or harmful, please report it to us. We won’t notify the sender. Report or Mark content safe

Yes. After I wrote the words, “good night,” my friend received the above. I hardly know how to process this, nor, do I know how to proceed. I have to do something, though as this cannot be tolerated. Nor, will it be.

We won’t notify the sender.

“Oddly,” the message disappeared but my quick-thinking friend took a screenshot of it, so we both have it. I didn’t include it here so as not to infringe on her privacy as her name is clearly visible. But, we've both since Tweeted about it, so I suppose that’s a moot point.

I’m sharing this with you for two reasons. First and foremost, for any of you who are frequent visitors to LinkedIn you need to know what’s going on. Anything and everything you post is subject to LinkedIn's faux “professional” standards if you’re not absolutely vanilla in your tone.

Also, your private messages are not private.

To me, that is the most egregious facet of this whole mess. Egregious and frightening.

Perhaps LinkedIn wants me gone as I've been sharing their less-than-professional "standards" in several stories, Gone. Off their site. Account canceled. And, that will happen. When I’m ready for it to happen, unless, of course, they cancel me, first. That to me would be telling, indeed.

But, before I cut the LinkedIn cord, I need to deal with this invasion of my personal space in a personal, private conversation with a friend. So, I ask you, what you would do in a similar situation? I appreciate the feedback. And, thank you for reading.

© Sherry McGuinn, 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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My goal is to educate, entertain, make you laugh, and above all, make you think. I will be running the gamut as far as my articles go because I have a restless mind and I allow it to ramble where and when it wants. I hope you enjoy what I'm looking forward to sharing with you. If so, I'd love for you to follow me. Thanks for reading.

Chicago, IL

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