LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking platform, has long been a space for career-driven individuals to connect, network, and advance their professional lives. However, a growing concern has emerged that more women no longer feel safe on the platform.
According to a survey conducted by Passport-Photo.online, a staggering 91% of female LinkedIn users have encountered unwanted romantic advances or inappropriate messages at least once while on the platform, causing them to consider boycotting the platform. Although LinkedIn partnered with CLEAR earlier this year to enhance the verification of users, there’s more for them to do in maintaining the professionality of the platform.
Women’s response to inappropriate messages
According to the survey, the majority of these unsolicited messages (31%) are people making moves for romantic or even sexual encounters. These advances can make women feel uncomfortable and get in the way of their professional connections.
When faced with these inappropriate messages, about 43%, choose to confront the sender and let them know they’ve crossed a line. The same percentage have reported such harassment on the platform on multiple occasions. Although it’s a strong move and shows more women are standing up for themselves and trying to keep things professional, not everyone would choose such a confrontational route.
Not every woman chooses a confrontational approach after receiving tinder-like messages
Given that women often encounter unsolicited messages in their day-to-day life and on other social media platforms, it’s entirely reasonable for them to anticipate a certain level of professionalism when using a platform like LinkedIn. As a result, 15% of women get annoyed by these messages, which is understandable.
About 13% of women in this survey felt indifferent about the messages and simply brushed it up. Such a response isn’t unfamiliar for women when faced with harassment, as many prefer to move on rather than internalize such occurrences. Finally, 13% of women felt confused by these messages, probably because they were unsure why someone would think it’s okay to do that on a professional platform.
These reactions show that these unwanted advances are uncomfortable; they can mess with women’s LinkedIn experiences in various ways. Such messages disrupt the whole point of the platform, which is to connect with professionals and grow in your career.
Moreover, data from NPR shows that 77% of women and 34% of men are verbally harassed in the workplace. Harassment on a professional platform like LinkedIn is degrading and could affect a woman’s confidence.
In response to the survey, a LinkedIn spokesperson emailed, “Unwanted romantic advances and harassment violate our rules, and our policies clearly communicate the type of content that isn’t allowed on LinkedIn”. The spokesperson also encouraged women to report such behaviour, stating that the platform has included features to help prevent harassment before a member sees such a message.
This isn’t the first time LinkedIn has been called out for having high rate of harassment
AbcNews, Mumberella, CtvNews, and even articles on the same LinkedIn platform have highlighted the issue of harassment on the network. These articles, dating from 2018, revealed that reporting such inappropriate messages didn’t always result in any action taken against the offender.
Verification and Messaging Censorship
Earlier this year, LinkedIn partnered with CLEAR to help members verify their identities and include a visible indication on each profile to show verified members. Sadly, the verification initiative has not been fully implemented across every country.
While this initiative could help reduce such harassment, other strategies, including message censorship, can help prevent such occurrences. LinkedIn could implement a sensor that automatically flags sexually inappropriate messages before delivering them.
Job seekers are not using only LinkedIn in their job search; Giant shows the top channels talents currently use. For LinkedIn to remain a top professional platform, it needs to be more intentional about protecting women.