7 surprising things you probably didn't know about LinkedIn
by Jackie A
2 months ago
The Chinese use this social media platform to recruit spies
Easier that dispatching spooks to sit in parks in Washington DC. According to the New York Times, those targeted included a former senior foreign policy official in the Obama administration (offering to fly him to China for “well paid” work) and a former Danish Foreign Ministry official who was messaged by a fake Chinese headhunter. (In truth most people use it to spy on their ex's careers).
LinkedIn is the only global social network not blocked by the Chinese government
Who knew? About ten years ago the powers in Beijing began to clamp down on free access of information. Today, if you're doing work within its borders forget trying to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+, Quora, Tumblr or Reddit. Or even Gmail or Hootsuite. And definitely not Youtube. All banned - except one.
LinkedIn is allowed through the door because it condones censorship
The Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (hello saintly Bill Gates!) has exploded in popularity by singing along to Beijing’s tune. It cleverly got local partners on board - China Broadband Capital and Sequoia China - then launched a Chinese-language site called Lingying, or “leading elites.” By kowtowing and removing sensitive posts, LinkedIn has boosted its Chinese reach from four million in 2014 to more than 40 million today. Getting into bed with the Reds really works for these Silicon Valley libertarians. (LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner justified it in 2014 by saying he could help realise "dreams and rights" of Chinese people. Srsly.)
The spy scandal defies an erstwhile boring image that's financially successful
Founded in 2002, LinkedIn is the world's largest professional networking platform, available in 24 languages and claims to have more than 645 million users, 180 million of them in North America. Last year, it coughed up more than $5.3 billion in revenue for Microsoft - about one-tenth the earnings of Facebook but almost twice as much as Twitter’s.
You can censor LinkedIn's own creepy, spammy emails
No-one said "LinkedIn's my fave social media site" ever, but you keep it alive for that day when you're shown the door. Those endless 'Congratulate this person ... ' , 'say Happy Birthday to..." and spam emails 'to connect' to total strangers are gruelling. To blacklist them all, go to settings by hovering over your profile photo on the top menu - then in the Communications section choose "Set the frequency of emails" and restrict to getting individual email messages, a weekly digest, or no emails. Preferably the latter.
It's ironically good at spotting and taking down millions of fake accounts - usually!
Last week LinkedIn admitted it took action on 21.6 million fake accounts between January and June this year. Of those, 19.5 million never made it live on the site. Impressive. Another two million were restricted before anyone reported them, and 67,000 were taken down after user reports.
The most followed page on LinkedIn is 'Ted Conferences' with 12.5m followers
I know - cancel your Netflix account pronto! Videos on inspirational thought leadership from founders channeling Silicon Valley jeans win out on this most work-based of social media sites. BTW beware using your profile pic from that crazy night last summer even though it was super flattering. There are pic rules. Because in the world of social media, LinkedIn's the straight, teetotal one who drives everyone home. The second most followed page is, unbelievably, Google's page with 12.1m followers, showcasing "corporate social responsibility initiatives". Whoop. Third is Amazon with "company events" and "job interview tips" (my tip: don't. The toilet breaks are tight).
It could become a totally fee paying service - or replace work emails
Forbes recently asked a slew of biz leaders - what next for LinkedIn? This guy, Brian M Harman, who calls himself an 'edutainer' *argh* is certain it'll replace work emails. "I'll check back with you in 10 years!" he exclaims and adds: "If they could combine some more Slack-like features, we could really be ready to ditch our company email!" Yay! Harman is a prime example of someone who puts his birthday deets on LinkedIn and awaits congrats from strangers. Others like Debbie Ince of Executive Talent Finders says 'built your network now' before it costs you to make even one connection. Conversely, you could just delete your whole account - as debated by The Guardian.
Nicole Leverich, a LinkedIn spokeswoman, last week said the company duly removes all fake accounts by spies posing as headhunters. "The creation of a fake account or fraudulent activity with an intent to mislead or lie to our members is a violation of our terms of service.” So misleading and lying is totally forbidden.
But censorship, AKA misinformation, when you have 40 million Chinese followers? That's A-OK.