If I tell you LinkedIn, you answer me “BORIIIIIIING” (and you’re right.) If this professional network is the paradise of hapiness managers, the showcase for big bosses, and the last card for students in the midst of an internship: it’s also a space where some pretty dark stuff happens… Yeah, me too, I thought it was just a boring old thing. BUT NO. It’s a boring thing AND creepy. So fucking fuuuuun!
1. A pervert harasses about forty students
In April 2021, it was a woman named Cléo who spoke to recount the ordeal that a fake recruiter made her live on the professional network. In her post, seen more than 300,000 times, she explains that the man, really high placed in a company, would have asked her in “video interview” to “lift her blouse, undress and obey her”. Horrible. Very quickly, many young women in her case reacted, testifying to similar facts from the same man. Moans, obscene images, sexual allusions and other horrors: he would have inflicted the same suffering on at least 36 young women, barely adults. A lawyer, Me Anne-Claire Le Jeune, represents a dozen victims who have decided to file a complaint. According to her, the facts can be qualified as aggravated sexual harassment.
2. 300 students scammed by an imaginary preparation
” Hippocrate, the National Institute of Excellence in Preparation for Health Competitions ” , or ” We prepare the elite of tomorrow “: beautiful promises, proudly displayed on the LinkedIn page ofHippocrates France. Problem: this preparatory class does not exist. It was Samy N, a 22-year-old who put together this story from scratch, and who pocketed around 4 million euros. The young man now faces 5 years in prison and 375,000 euros in fines in addition to damages to be paid to the victims.
3. Data posted on the dark web
And we’re not talking about three poor pieces of data lying around there… No, it’s those of more than 700 million users (i.e., 92% of the LinkedIn community) who would have been victims of “scraping”, that is- that is, extracting and then selling their data on the Dark Web, in 2021. Among these elements: telephone numbers, addresses and last names. Creepy to death.
4. The President Scam
In this case, the scam does not happen directly on LinkedIn, but the social network still plays a predominant role. Starting from the premise that it is a purely professional network, it is sometimes less difficult to give a lot of ultra personal information about us and our company, simply to strengthen our chances of jobs or connections. Problem: all these details are sometimes used to build diabolical plans. Some cybercriminals patiently bundle them together. Once they have managed to perfectly identify your company structure, your colleagues and your information, they will spring into action, posing as an important person in the hierarchy. They will then ask you to make an urgent transfer, on the grounds of a tax audit or a new partnership. It is very easy to fall for the trap, the scammer using a telephone number and an email address with which you are already familiar… At the beginning of the year 2022, 33 million euros were extorted from a Parisian property developer in this way: a record figure in France!
5. Spoiler Alert: LinkedIn is not Tinder
In “professional social network”, there is… PROFESSIONAL. Which implies that NO, this is not a place to collect email addresses or phone numbers to try your luck. Nope. Moreover, the rants in this direction are multiplying on the platform. In 2015, it was Charlotte Proudman, a British lawyer, who denounced the practice. Today, in 2022, more and more people dare to speak out to denounce this phenomenon, which unfortunately is still very present.
6. Iranian President Trolled on LinkedIn
In 2013, when tensions between Iran and Israel were high (since 1979), the Jewish state created a fake LinkedIn profile of Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran. On this parody account, we can read “ proponent of nuclear proliferation “, “ weapons of mass destruction skills ” or ” if you’re looking for a persuasive communication expert and a great salesperson who can make almost anything believe, i’m your man. The person responsible for these posts: Noam Katz, head of “public diplomacy” at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Who would have thought that LinkedIn (aka the network for old people) could actually become a political weapon?
7. Iranian hackers use LinkedIn to stalk
We remain on the side of Iran, but this time it is the country that uses the platform in a questionable way. According to cybersecurity company Dell Secure Work, hackers set up 25 fake recruiter profiles to spy on their targets in different countries in 2015. They then managed to connect to 200 users from Saudi Arabia, Qatar , the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan or the USA. Once the links were established, they allegedly sent malware to their victims, giving them access to confidential data. It’s cold in the back.
8. Another spy case: China with over 10,000 profiles
In any case, this is what the German intelligence services revealed in 2017. Behind false identities were actually hiding members of the Chinese secret services, looking for personal information on the habits of certain users. The BFV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, that is, the federal office for the protection of the German constitution) publicly revealed this imposture. To prove her point, she highlights the photo of “Laeticia Chen”, director of the Chinese Center for Politics and International Economy on LinkedIn, actually taken from an online fashion catalog… Oops, grilled! According to Reuters, European diplomats and politicians were contacted in this way. In total: 10,000 citizens were targeted. China has denied the accusations, of course!
Little bonus info: LinkedIn is one of the only networks that is not blocked in the country….
According to the latest transparency report published by the professional network, there are fewer and fewer fake profiles: 98.3% of them have been deleted. On the other hand, we see a good big increase in inappropriate content, especially in the “harassment and abuse” category (and after reading this top, we understand better why!).