LinkedIn is my preferred social media platform. It’s a place where you can network in industry and cross industry, connecting with like-minded people and following thought leaders. Others clearly agree as it’s in the top 5 of all popular social media platforms (even beating out Twitter).
They tout on their “about” page that they have over 900 million users across 200+ countries.
That’s a lot of people.
Not all the profiles on LinkedIn are real though. Maybe you’ve noticed. Maybe one of these fake profiles has messaged you.
Bad actors have been using fake profiles for a while now. They use them to send spam messages, trick people into downloading malware, and scam people for personal data.
Fake accounts are a problem and it’s only been getting worse.
LinkedIn is a treasure trove of information. Think about what you have listed on your account. Your name, city of residence, education, job history, contact details, and professional interests. That’s all valuable data a criminal would love to know about you and put to use.
Most of this information is available just by having a free account. And these fake accounts are difficult to spot. They look like real people, use real photos (or even AI generated images that look like real photos), and list legitimate businesses they work for. Every fake profile is constructed to make you think it’s real.
Thankfully LinkedIn is working on managing the issue of fake accounts.
Last October they rolled out the “about this profile” feature where you as a user can check any profile by clicking on the 3 dots menu and selecting “about this profile”. There you can see more detailed information, such as when they updated their photo last, and if their phone number and email are verified. It’s a good spot check if you’re not sure about a profile you’re looking at. If you didn’t know about this feature, you should put it to use.
They have more changes coming as well, and soon. They recently announced that they are rolling out a new verification system. It’s a better authentication process to weed out the creation of fake accounts.
For one, they are partnering with CLEAR, and organization designed around secure identity, to provide verification for LinkedIn members. This policy will roll out for members in the U.S. first, then after a test period follow for other countries.
CLEAR has thus far mostly been associated with better, and faster, airport security, but it has also rolled out its technology to hotels, stadiums, and offices. It functions using government issued IDs, phone numbers, and email addresses.
You can clearly see (that pun was not intended – I swear) how verified identity can bring benefits to LinkedIn incorporation. It will instantly make accounts and their details more trustworthy since it will be harder to fake them.
LinkedIn has one more trick up its sleeve. They are incorporating Microsoft Entra, Microsoft’s verified ID platform as well. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft, so this partnership seems logical, if not inevitable.
Entra with utilize digital workplace IDs, verifying employee’s work status with the company. With the professional nature of LinkedIn, the current employer can be verified so it not only helps stop fake accounts, but fake data.
While not being implemented for every company, it will initially roll out to dozens of large companies that reach over 2 million LinkedIn accounts. This should be happening now as we post this, and continue to be expanded to more companies over time.
These are all great features that will improve the authenticity of the LinkedIn platform as a whole. It’s refreshing to see such great measures being taken to help protect the community, and as free improvements. We’ll update as new information becomes available, but in the meantime make sure to stay vigilant with keeping your account safe.