Is LinkedIn becoming the new Tinder?

Have you received an unwanted romantic message via social media? Find out why many fear that LinkedIn is becoming the new Tinder.

More and more LinkedIn users complain about receiving messages with inappropriate proposals, according to a study by Passport Photo Online. The website, supposed to help in career development, is treated by many users as a place to find a partner.

LinkedIn is a social network allowing users to establish business contacts and allow future employers or business partners to develop professional relationships.

Meanwhile, a new study shows that many people use LinkedIn for different purposes. According to the report’s authors, an alarmingly high percentage of women using the portal receive messages with inappropriate proposals that are more suited to dating sites.

Instead of a job offer, people are being asked out on a date on LinkedIn

For many users, LinkedIn is a kind of virtual CV exchange that potential employers or business partners can visit.

It turns out, however, that LinkedIn has more functions, which can lead to uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations – especially for women. According to the research, an increasing number of users treat Linkedin as a kind of dating site where proposals can go far beyond the professional sphere. There are even complaints that some site users send their nude photos. 

The study conducted by Passport Photo Online, an app designed to take professional photos for documents, surveyed more than a thousand US female LinkedIn users. Women were asked about their experiences with receiving inappropriate messages and how they reacted to them.

What are the results? As many as 91% of the respondents received an inappropriate message from a LinkedIn user. More than 24% of the respondents in the group surveyed for Passport Photo Online said they receive such messages very often – daily or almost every day.

One-third of these messages are about dating or having sex. The same amount is made up of requests for private or intimate information.

How do women respond to these kinds of signals? Among the surveyed, about 15% feel irritated, slightly less – surprised, or indifferent. Over 13% perceive such messages as confusing, and almost 10% feel uncomfortable about them.

43% of women write back to such users that they have crossed the line, while 23% just ignore the message. About 17% of people receiving inappropriate messages decide to report or block the user.

The study also revealed a phenomenon that could potentially negatively affect the careers of LinkedIn users. It can potentially be risky for LinkedIn itself. Almost three-quarters of the respondents who received ambiguous proposals decided to reduce their activity on this platform.

LinkedIn: A job interview or a date?

The fact that women on LinkedIn receive inappropriate and indecent proposals is part of a broader phenomenon that has been going on for several years. According to people who make such complaints, some LinkedIn users use this platform to find a partner – either permanently or just as part of a one-night stand.

What is the reason for such behavior of LinkedIn users? The report’s authors speculate that it is about the sense of anonymity that is characteristic of social media – and the Internet in general. For many users, LinkedIn is just another portal, which is conducive to greater courage in making friends – also those not related to the professional sphere.

In extreme cases, this courage leads to behavior that would be impossible in face-to-face contact. Sometimes users also cross borders, which would not happen in real life.

Every problem should be addressed. But how? 39% of surveyed LinkedIn users claim that increasing awareness and education about appropriate behavior should become a platform’s priority. Other solutions include implementing stricter guidelines and policies (agreed by more than 25% of surveyed women), and an instant ban for sending inappropriate messages.

Michal Jonca is passionate about social media trends, trail running, and travel experiences. After spending two and a half months in East Africa and two months in the Caucasus, he currently enjoys a few months of rest in Poland. Michal is the Community Manager at PhotoAiD – a startup offering biometric visa & passport photos online.