LinkedIn’s Fake Profile Problem – The Buyer’s Journey 33

LinkedIn has a fake review problem, but it’s unclear how bad it is and how to stop it. We dive deep in today’s episode.

The Consideration Stage: A Refresher

The Consideration Stage is the second stage of The Buyer’s Journey. It involves two main components: researching a brand’s product and choosing where to buy that product. This then leads customer’s into the Purchase phase.

LinkedIn’s Fake Profile Problem

Kerry Flynn on Digiday reports that LinkedIn’s fake profile problem is causing a lot of trouble, especially for businesses trying to recruit.

“The profiles typically have very limited information or are duplicates,” Dannie Fountain, an account representative at Google, told Digiday. “If I search the name, I’ll see a second profile with more complete information. They are almost always asking questions about Google: How do I get hired, can you review my resume, can you submit a referral. Some of the more bold ones will ask or demand to set up time with me.”

Some profiles even have fake verified check marks in their profile pictures, as Flynn points out in the example below.

This fake review problem comes on the heels of LinkedIn’s latest announcement: they’ve have 575 million registered users. As Len points out in the show, how many of those are fake profiles? We have no way of knowing.

More insidiously, it’s believe that these fake profiles aren’t just spoofing celebrities for fun. Instead, they’re trying to become connections with users. The end goal is to make as many connections as possible and then harvest the email list of each connection. From there, the list can be used to do any number of spam related things.

What To Do?

Paul Rockwell, LinkedIn’s head of trust and safety, did respond to Flynn’s email and told her the following:

“Fake accounts are a violation of our terms of service and we take action against them. When we identify bad actors, we take appropriate action, which often includes a permanent restriction from LinkedIn. We use a variety of automated techniques, coupled with human reviewers and member reporting, to keep our members safe from all types of bad actors and abuse. If members encounter something that makes them uncomfortable, suspect someone might not be representing themselves honestly or see inappropriate behavior like harassment or inaccurate content, we ask that they report it to us immediately and know that they can always block another member or remove a connection.”

As we discuss in the show, fake profiles are to be expected when doing anything online. However, they can be an incredible hindrance for businesses. Whether this continues or LinkedIn amps up it’s protections is something we’ll have to see.

Check out our next episode where we’ll discuss a news article covering the Purchase stage of The Buyer’s Journey.

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