LinkedIn has had a long-standing stalking problem, as AOL Jobs reported last year. For years, some users have complained of being harassed through the system. But LinkedIn's controls were largely of an all-or-nothing approach: to be invisible to one person, a user had to forgo many of the potential networking benefits.
Reasons for Blocking
For example, Lucy Roberts in England had dated and broken up with someone who then kept trying to contact her. She obtained the equivalent of a protective order to keep him from physically visiting her.
Without a blocking feature, a stalker would have access to significant amounts of information unless the user prevented everyone from seeing information that could be important for professional networking.
How the Block Works
- The user and the blocked person cannot see each other's profiles and cannot message each other on LinkedIn
- Any connection between the two is removed, as are any recommendations or endorsements
- The two members do not show up in a report on who viewed a user's profile
- LinkedIn no longer suggests either to the other under either “People You May Know” or “People also Viewed”
The blocked person does not get a notification of having been blocked, although that should be obvious from the reduced available information. There are some limitations to the new feature, according to LinkedIn:
- Blocking does not apply to public information, such as a public profile or public posts
- Mutual connections might share something from the blocked person, though a user can hide it
- You can't block anonymous viewers of your profile
- To block a manager of a group you subscribe to, you'd have to leave the group first
- Contact records stored locally on a device have to be manually removed, which means that the blocked person may still have copies of your contact information
Not perfect, but it seems a strong start — and a welcome relief to many.
Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman
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