T’s & C’s of LinkedIn

In my last blog post I talked about Twitter and Facebook’s terms and conditions. After seeing some pretty interesting “rules” I decided to investigate other networks I frequent. With that said, let’s take a look at LinkedIn.

I love LinkedIn! Its great network that allows people to connect with each other based on professional interests. The possibilities the network presents its users are priceless! I’ve heard of people landing their dream jobs because of LinkedIn. But is this all too good to be true? Do the terms and conditions (T’s & C’s) negate this seemingly wonderful social media site?

I actually liked reading LinkedIn’s terms of service. It is outlined in sections, each featuring a summary on the side. These summaries make it easy for the user to clearly define what each section discusses. As I was reading the T’s & C’s I noticed a lot of similar qualities between LinkedIn and other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, especially in terms of content. Users own their content on LinkedIn but by posting on the network users give LinkedIn license to use their content. On other networks (i.e. Instagram) this has angered people. When we use these social networks we have to remember they are a business. They were created to make money!

The more I’ve investigated the “rules” of these social networks the more I’ve asked myself why people aren’t taking greater in action against the social networks. The truth: LinkedIn does not really care. According to the T’s & C’s: “You waive your rights to try to stop LinkedIn, but we don’t waive our rights to ask a court to stop your actions.” In their opinion you are a guest on the network. They can ask you to leave and won’t miss you!

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What I really found interesting in LinkedIn’s T’s & C’s were the do’s and don’ts. Maybe it’s because LinkedIn is used for more professional purposes but the “rules” didn’t seem too restrictive. There was the usual “don’t post fraudulent content,” “don’t use a fake name,” etc. If users suspect they are a “victim” of any fraudulent activity a way to contact LinkedIn in the T’s & C’s is available. This was reassuring to see.

CaptureOverall, I believe LinkedIn does a great job of preventing harmful or “risky” type of material to be posted to the site. If you request to connect with someone in the request you have to say how you know the person. LinkedIn also promotes the use of professional images and behavior. From my experience on the network that’s just what occurs. LinkedIn has done a great job of promoting themselves as a professional place and the behavior that occurs on the network illustrates this.

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10 thoughts on “T’s & C’s of LinkedIn

  1. Great read Alexis! I was hoping someone would discuss LinkedIn, and your response was not disappointing. Particularly, I found myself reflecting on two things as I read your post: First, I really liked the way you described users as “guests.” I think this does a very good job of illustrating the relationship between these platforms and their users. I think legal action comes about when people feel they are entitled to more than they really are when using these sites. Just because I invite you to my house, doesn’t mean you can be upset when I don’t stock your favorite foods in my refrigerator. Second, I was hoping LinkedIn would be discussed because I was curious if there were more “common sense implications” to the Terms and Conditions. What I mean by that is if professionals are using the service, they shouldn’t need to be hand held about every possible scenario and what legal rights they have in those scenarios. Professionals should know they are guests, no? Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for your feedback! I’m glad we are on the same page! I would like to think most people who use LinkedIn would not need to be reminded to be professional on the network but then again I’m sure we would both be surprised at some of the incidents that have occurred on the network! And we truly our guests. LinkedIn is a business and if they don’t want to do business with us they don’t have to!

  3. I’ve always looked to LinkedIn as the social media platform that acts in the most “professional” manner. I think in order for people to continue to take LinkedIn seriously, they have to have these rules. It’s part of the maintaining the integrity of the website. Although the rules seem to be fairly lax, they do tell me they are a platform for “serious” connections.
    They do a great job though, you’re right. It’s amazing how far it comes and how it continues to grow so rapidly. *Wish I would have thought of LinkedIn*

  4. Hi Alexis,

    Nice post. I like how you end it with the reminder that LinkedIn was created for professionals, and its terms of service and content rules have to keep that integrity intact. It isn’t an easy feat keeping people professional online, but LinkedIn has been able to do that now for years.

    Since LinkedIn was created for professionals, your description of users as “guests” is spot on for how you should act at, say, a networking event. You are there to make connections, but if you act inappropriately, the venue has the right to ask you to leave.

    • Thanks for you input Lexi! I have to say I am the least disturbed/disappointed in LinkedIn’s T’s & C’s. I think they’ve done a great job of maintaining their reputation as a professional network. I think reminding people they are guests is important. It goes along the lines of “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.” If you aren’t there for business then you don’t need to be there!

  5. Great job looking at LinkedIn, Alexis. One of the questions I have about their T&Cs lead me to ask is what will they do with your content if they choose to use it. Does that encompass stories you share, or your personal information? (I’m not going worst-case scenario, I’m just trying to think of what they’re sharing.)

    Personally, I love LinkedIn and what it has to offer its users, so knowing that they do have my “best” intentions in there somehow makes me feel a little better when I consider how often I use the site. I find the how do you know this person function both nice and frustrating. Because some of your connections are not from positions you’ve held, and they make you connecting more difficult. (I’m thinking of when I attempting to connect with my father.) I understand this is to cut down on the number of fraudulent connections, which upholds the credibility of the site, but there needs to be a way to work around that to make a little more sense for your users.

    All in all, if their terms of service are easier to read (and some people are taking the time to do it) then it is working for them and their user.

    Great post!

    • I agree with you. Sometimes I get frustrated with the connections aspect of LinkedIn too. Like you said, sometimes I know people from other ways than just what’s listed in the connection request. While it has cut down the fraud on the site I think it might be time to rethink and re-do this feature of the site.

  6. Hi all,
    I too reviewed the LinkedIn Terms and Conditions and Lexi brings up an interesting point I did not touch on: the T&C are more geared toward professional conduct, which makes sense. After all, this is the sheer reason they are in existence, to serve as a conduit for those business interactions. I also liked how the terms are written, with a little summary on the left and then the full text on the right, so you can actually understand what you are reading.

    Kristin brings up an interesting point of trying to connect with, for example, relatives. It would be nice if they could widen the net of “how do you know this person.” I think when I was trying to connect with Andy, I had to check the box that said I worked with him at the University of Florida when, obviously, that is not true. It would be nice if they would add “family member” or “teacher” to the list.

    • Hi Amanda,
      I enjoyed reading your post about LinkedIn too! I think we all can agree the site’s T’s & C’s don’t seem to harsh compared to other social media networks but there still needs to be some tweaking. The connection request could use a makeover. Maybe they’ll make that minor change in the future! Thanks for your feedback!

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