In February, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer B Chandrakala found a LinkedIn fake account running in her name. After registering a case under the Information Technology (IT) Act, the police swung into action and get LinkedIn to shut that face account.
Under investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in an illegal mining case in Uttar Pradesh, Chandrakala was shocked to see the fake account being run on LinkedIn in her name using her photograph and designation and publishing objectionable obscene content.
Not just fake accounts, there have been several cases of fraudsters impersonating staffing agencies on the LinkedIn platform and people keeping duplicate and fake profiles. The goal of such people, according to Bruce Johnston, a famed LinkedIn sales and marketing consultant, is to harvest email addresses from connections, identity theft, phishing, spear phishing and other scams and impersonation.
LinkedIn, which has over 54 million users in India which is its fastest growing market outside of the US, claims it is good at stamping out fake profiles once they are identified.
But the real game is to identify such problems firsthand — via Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled algorithms which the company has invested heavily in — in order to weed out bad actors quickly and act proactively, without waiting for users to flag such content.
Human-centric AI and Machine Learning (ML) is helping — to a great extent — Facebook, Twitter and Google stamp out bad content, terror-related posts, political interference, misinformation, abuse and several other inauthentic behaviour even before users flags them.
“LinkedIn is pretty good at stamping out fake profiles once they are identified. But as fake profiles can be replaced just as quickly as they are detected and stamped out, this is a real problem,” wrote Johnston in a blog post some time back.
LinkedIn does not have a satisfactory answer when it comes to identifying a person who is between jobs or joined at some other place but keeps his old profile on LinkedIn.
“Members come to LinkedIn to connect with their community, learn from each other and access opportunity. The best way to do that is to keep their profile updated, including sharing news and insights,” says the Microsoft-owned platform.
LinkedIn gives users option to flag inappropriate or fake profiles on its platform – profiles that contain profanity, empty profiles with fake names, or profiles that are impersonating public figures. The company told IANS that while there may be multiple reasons why members take more time to update their profiles, it is possible for other members to report inaccurate information
“We take each report very seriously and our team reviews each case individually. If the information is inaccurate, we take action, which can include removing the content,” said a LinkedIn spokesperson.
Specifically for fake accounts, said LinkedIn, we investigate suspected violations of our Terms of Service, including the creation of false profiles, and take immediate action when violations are uncovered.
“If members use multiple email addresses to log into LinkedIn, this can lead to duplicate accounts. LinkedIn has tools in place to check for such instances and notify members to merge the duplicate accounts,” informed the company. It, however, appears that LinkedIn relies more on users than its AI and ML solutions to keep its platform sanitised.
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