LinkedIn Giveth – Perhaps Too much

Is it too much to let strangers evaluate your network?

LinkedIn apparently thinks it’s perfectly fine to let third degree connections know which companies, schools, industries, and locations your connections hail from…

What – you don’t believe me? Check this out…

The new profile

As a diligent LinkedIn coach, I spent some time looking into the “new profile” that’s been touted recently.

I couldn’t quite understand it when the materials talk about my network with the new profile. Clearly my network is not part of my profile – they’re two logically separate things. My profile talks about me, and my network talks about who I know.

But semantics aside, the sample profiles shown always seemed to include detail about the individual’s network.

I thought – surely that won’t show up on anything except my direct connections…

And there it is!

LinkedIn is slowly rolling out the new profile, but the word on the street is that all LinkedIn employees have it.

One advanced search later, I was looking at the profile of a LinkedIn employee – and sure enough there was the little infographic about that person’s network.

Well – this person was a 2nd degree connection.

Surely I won’t get this detail about a 3rd degree connection – heck, LinkedIn has gone out of its way to keep me from viewing the person’s last name and profile. (Think about it, if a 3rd degree connection is OUT OF MY NETWORK, LinkedIn doesn’t believe we have anything in common. I mean other than the two people between us… But that’s a different article…)

Meet James

So one slightly altered search later, I’m looking at the profile of James – who is “OUT OF NETWORK”. Whose last name is shielded from me and whose profile I can’t see… But I can see that he connects to 251 people who work for LinkedIn, 14 that work for a former employer, 7 from Twitter, and a few from seven other companies.

I can select “School”, “Location”, or “Industry” to see other characteristics about him.

Just look:

Image of Connection Infographic

All because he’s got the “new profile”.

By the way, it’s not that secret…

Here’s an extra tip – just in case you haven’t been exposed to the secret of finding out James’ last name or viewing most of his profile.

I took James’ first name, his employers, and his headline and went over to my good friend google – entered those, and was able to find his “public profile” that happily lists most of his career and personal details and also his last name. (all for the public to see for free)

Sure – I had to do it in a browser where I wasn’t logged into LinkedIn, but that’s a small price to pay for accurate information isn’t it?

(But remember – that’s between you and I – LinkedIn still seems to think it’s secret, should only be available to friends of friends, and is otherwise something we should be paying for…)

Can I opt out?

I received a nice note from LinkedIn letting me know about the new profile, and steps I could take to get it enabled sooner. But really what I’d like to know is – can I just say no?

I connect to a whole lot of people – I really don’t want most of them to be able to check on the backgrounds of the other people I connect to…

Guess it’s just another sad day for LinkedIn users.

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock


  1. Hello Steven,

    I career mentor immigrants for 12 years now and have been using LinkedIn for pretty much every “scary” piece of information you mention above in this post to get interviews. What I find is far more disturbing though is that now my “professional network” investigation is having its real kicks on Facebook where most people are willing to share everything under their sun including every high school flame, managers wild parties and which company car they have in the driveway.

    Last week I helped a person to pitch questions about the managers golf buddy since they finished university, his suburb family lifestyle and Chevrolet – and whilst being at it why not ask why he has a dog when his kids are so young! Insane – anybody can be Agent 007 today!

    LinkedIn is actually hard work.


  2. Martin,

    Thanks for letting us know – I don’t have an issue with information one expects to give away being made available – like what goes into the profile.

    Just the stuff that up until now has been unavailable – it’s there for nearly anybody to see.


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