Last year, we brought you the story of Anna Rihtar, who struggled to rebuild her career after her former boss allegedly sexually assaulted her and then stalked her on LinkedIn. SocialTimes learned that the engineers at LinkedIn were already working on a possible solution for members in similar situations. Now, finally, LinkedIn has introduced a member-blocking feature. In the post announcing the news, Paul Rockwell, head of trust and safety at the social network, explained why it took so long: “While on the surface this may seem like a simple feature to develop, it was not. There were many different use cases to consider, products and features to integrate, as well as a user interface we had to create.”
This feature has been demanded by users for some time now, but a majority of responses to the LinkedIn post criticized the social network for allowing members to remain anonymous: “Am I missing something here? First step to blocking [is] ‘go to page of member you wish to block’, how [do] you block Anonymous??” wrote one commenter.
The commenters do have a point. This editor is struggling to think of reasons why one would need to be anonymous on a professional social network, besides the irrational discomfort some may feel about the “Who’s viewed your profile” feature. When reached for comment, Krista Canfield, senior manager of corporate communications at LinkedIn, stressed that “when someone chooses not to be seen by others, they also won’t be able to see who’s viewed their profile either.”
In the end, LinkedIn’s privacy settings may not be completely rational. But there is nothing wrong with allowing members to have such a level of control over their privacy settings, even if those decisions do not necessarily make sense for a professional network. Users are empowered to control their own visibility. The more information you give, the more information you get.
More importantly, such a feature would give Anna Rihtar and others like her the ability to block their stalkers.
For more on using the block feature, visit LinkedIn’s Help Center.
*image via LinkedIn Help Center
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