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LinkedIn Introduces New Blocking Feature


At the end of September, LinkedIn announced that they were to introduce a new feature which allows users to block certain individuals from viewing their LinkedIn page. This change has come after a number of people have complained to LinkedIn about people ‘stalking’ their LinkedIn profile, which they could do nothing about and could not prevent.  LinkedIn have now acknowledged the need for a feature which allows users to block unwanted individuals from viewing their profile – a move which will hopefully reduce the stress and worry that some victims of online stalking feel from having their profile repetitively viewed by people they would rather not be in contact with.

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Facebook and Twitter already have features which allow users to block individuals and have done so for quite some time.  However, the principle of LinkedIn is that your professional profile is as easily discoverable as possible, aiding potential employers in finding your profile and getting work. Before the introduction of a blocking feature on LinkedIn the only way for users to avoid stalkers on the site was to increase privacy, which would counteract the whole concept of LinkedIn, and therefore hinder your chances of finding employment from the site. Furthermore, the potential problems which could arise from stalkers on LinkedIn is greater than on Facebook or Twitter as all the information which you post on your LinkedIn profile is true, and this makes the site uniquely worrying for the victims of LinkedIn stalking. In contrast, on Twitter or Facebook one could create an alias or omit some important information, such as the area where you live. On the other hand, on LinkedIn your workplace is publicly available to those who can view your profile – which means stalkers would have access to the area where you live or work and where you may relocate to.

The changes come partly as a result of certain petitions and groups who have called for a block feature to be introduced for a few years. Anna R. is one of these individuals, who has called for a block feature to be introduced following her own personal experience of sexual harassment in the work place and subsequent stalking from her ex-boss who would view her profile everyday. Anna commented on her petition page that “every day, LinkedIn members are being stalked and threatened. Without a blocking feature, like ones available on other social media sites, these stalkers are able to see where their "prey" works, in which city they work, when they change jobs, when they move, etc. When being stalked and living in fear, it is easy to see how scary this situation can be. Adding a blocking feature is important for the millions of LinkedIn users around the world who are being stalked yet have no control to stop it”.

The petition which Anna started on Change.org to ask LinkedIn to improve its privacy settings has been signed by over 8,500 people, including many other victims of LinkedIn stalking, who have also shared their stories online. The petition is partly responsible for the response from Paul Rockwell, head of Trust and Safety at LinkedIn, which featured on the help section of the LinkedIn website on the 20th August. He commented that “I'd like to start by acknowledging the ongoing demand for a block feature, and I can confirm that we’re in the process of building one. We've heard you, and we both recognize and appreciate the need for privacy controls in this digital age, which is why we remain committed to placing the controls in your hands”.

Stalking by individuals who repetitively view your online profile is not the only problem that LinkedIn has found which threatens its reputation as a professional network. There have also been many cases of people receiving inappropriate messages from strangers via their LinkedIn messaging service commenting on a person’s personal appearance and not relating to work or professional aspects of the site at all. This has even led to the creation of certain blogs and websites to share particular messages which these so-called ‘social creeps’ have sent online.

What do you think?

Do you think that it is right for LinkedIn to introduce a blocking feature?



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LinkedIn Introduces New Blocking Feature Reviewed by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 Rating: 5
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