As far as the creepier name mismatches go, my oldest email address list has tons of maiden names and unused/defunct email addresses. It's likely that some high school friend of the OP uploaded an old address book and LinkedIn's algorithm made a best effort match on some of the rarer names even if the email addresses don't match. I mean, how many Lucy Hatsbaughs do you think there are on linked in? Two? LinkedIn may as well gamble on odds like that.
If you really want to talk about creepy, I'm fairly sure they use your IP address to match against other people who live/work at the same location: when I created a test account with dummy information, the first contacts that were suggested to me were my roommates.
So, I'm guessing that my address was somehow added to their address books, which they then imported, and that's how LinkedIn identified out "connection". What that doesn't explain, though, is why these invitations were sent out. I'm confident that none of these people would have knowingly sent an invitation to me, so I'm guessing that LinkedIn is obtaining their "consent" without making it clear what is going on.
If anybody understands the process behind this, I'd be glad to know. The sad part is that once I realized who these people were and that they almost certainly didn't intend to send invitations to me, I didn't bother to investigate any further, because that's the kind of thing I've come to expect.
I didn't import my address book, but the most logical suggestion is they imported theirs and LinkedIn did an ultra-simple matchup.
Yes, it was a hot chick I was creepily cyber stalking. Like you haven't ever.
But, other posters have done some anonymous experiments that suggest there's something else going on, perhaps with cookies from other sites or IP addresses. I'm not sure how we'd figure it out, though.
>> Yes, it was a hot chick I was creepily cyber stalking. Like you haven't ever.
I'm not judging, I promise. :)
It's interesting to me (or frightening) that some of the smartest people I know have the fewest endorsements. People I know doing actual real work on things like "microcontrollers" have...3-4 endorsements with them, but people who I know have only maybe installed Linux, have 20 or so endorsements for "linux".
There are people I know who are post-graduate level experts on certain fields, and those fields are either not listed at all, or they have maybe 1 or 2 endorsements for it.
I'll keep just linking people to my github, and showing them projects I've built.
: Actual real work as in: writing libraries that other people use. Contributing to the community in ways that effect the entire community.
People that know nothing about technology have endorsed me for skills I don't have.
We're working on a system we think is slight better, based on getting credit for what you read, and hopefully one day what you know.
That's the way I've been looking at the entire web these days - and not just social media. The Google page ranking algorithm really boils down to a (potentially high stakes) popularity contest.
There are SEO tea leaf readers who think Google+ plays an increasing role in search rankings. It's probably just speculation coupled with coincidence, but as I was reading some articles on this last week, I was reminded of the Googler that wrote about why he was not going to his high school reunion. It wasn't just sad - it made me angry that adults condoned the activity. I was struck by the irony that this Googler had escaped the high school social pressure cooker, only to go on to work for a company that has engineered the world's biggest popularity contest.
Also not a big fan of LinkedIn's asking me to connect to the spouses of exes I haven't talked to, emailed, stalked, nor seen for 15 years and several email accounts. Massively creepy.
: Actual real work as in: writing libraries that other people use. Contributing to the community in ways that effect the entire community.
I worry a little about the GitHub approach as well.
On the one hand, it's great that some people have effectively got portfolios now. It's verifiable evidence that they have some clue what they're doing.
On the other hand, I'm concerned about a bias developing against people who don't put loads of work on GitHub for whatever reason, which is not verifiable evidence that they don't know what they're doing. They might be world class experts who could easily demonstrate their skill and expertise in person, but that's no good if employers all start using cost-cutting auto-screening software that never shortlists such candidates for interview because they didn't share their ingenious but proprietary code/ideas with the general public.
In short, any scheme that relies on historical demonstrations, whether it's claims on a CV or code on a GitHub account, is always going to be vulnerable to false negatives.
But if you can use a bunch of proxies (like StackOverflow, GitHub, and LinkedIn), and know the value of each of those proxies, then you can more efficiently match a person with a role. Sure, there'll be lots of mistakes, but it's hard to see a better alternative.
Example: "So-and-So endorses me for Programming" vs. "github.com/myrepo/"
I closed my "real" account around 2011. A few months back I created a new blank account because I needed access to a couple organization's pages. The only information on that account is my name (a fairly common one) and an email address which is different from the one on my original account. It's possible they have some geographic info linking the two accounts as I closed and opened them from the same city.
90% of the "people you may know" are correct and from dramatically different social groups. Some how it's picked out a girl I did a family stay with in Germany in '04, a fourth cousin I'm only vaguely aware of, current friends from several groups, and high school friends I haven't talked to in 10 years.
Yet it keeps suggesting people I actually know.
The second account also does not have my full name (if it had my full name it'd be less weird, as my name to my knowledge is globally unique - there's only a few hundred people with my last name worldwide)
The account has not been used for anything related to me. I've never searched for anyone from it. Never given my e-mail address there...
The only thing connecting the two is that the "fake" e-mail address is a "firstname.lastname@example.org" address, and that I've logged in to them from the same machine.
It took less than a day before that account started getting friend requests from people I know (clearly the "TEST" instead of my surname did nothing to dissuade them)
So, to summarize, a simple regular expression matching emails against /\+[^@]+/ and replacing with '' is some 1984-level creepiness?
Wouldn't that be a dead giveaway?
If not the machine, then surely this.
It's amazing how much the marketting networks can figure out about you, and keep track of you with a cookie.
However, if people you know found the account, then that's also something that Facebook uses - I've had "do you know X?" suggestions from people with whom I have no traceable connections (not in my address book, don't even know their email addresses) - turns out (when I asked one of them) that he had been looking at my profile (without friend-requesting me) a few days before.
What is worse is that
1. There is no way to actually delete the data. From what I can see, they only disable the account if you ask them to delete.
2. Even if you didn't give any of your data to FB, your friends/family etc can - there is simply no way to prevent this (a friend takes a picture of you at a party, tags it with your name etc)
Or maybe Facebook is using a real-life https://panopticlick.eff.org/
It pointed to me that I probably knew a profile.
This profile was a "fake profile" of a person I knew, from the description it was clear it was this person, can't tell which email was being used, and if I remember correctly it had no friends as well (or maybe only one unrelated friend)
-It tells people when I view their profile. So now I never view people's profiles because I don't want to look like a stalker. Imagine if Facebook worked this way.
-An andecdote, but maybe you've experienced it: a guy I worked with about 3 years ago (and only for 2 weeks) has "endorsed" me several times recently. I don't know if this is some kind of quid pro quo, but it makes me somewhat uncomfortable.
Personally I keep mine fully on since it is a good way of passive contact (I once browsed ~1000 VCs with a headline that was somewhat provocative as an experiment and about half looked at my profile back and 6 of them emailed me asking what I was working on).
Note: I actually designed this feature at LinkedIn after doing a ton of interviews with people and going to multiple privacy organizations and the EU to make sure it wasn't violating anyone's privacy by making it a tit-for-tat system that was by default anonymized (if you click on profile stats, it prompts you to switch your setting if you want to see who has viewed your profile (or did when I was there)).
Links to people's private profiles have an auth token in it that is good only for the account that generated it, so unless you're relatively closely connected, you can't actually view links to random private profiles posted by people on the internet.
In fact, there is an bookmarklet that shows the list: http://thekeesh.com/2013/03/updated-facebook-friends-ranking...
>You'll see profile stats about who's viewed your profile if:
>You have a premium account. This will also give you access to Profile Stats Pro.
>You have a free basic account and have set your privacy settings to show your name and headline.
In other words, as long as you shell out some cash you can avoid detection while viewing other people's profiles but still see when they view yours.
What's most relevant here is that it's downright illegal in most Western countries LinkedIn e.a. operate in. Both collecting this information and sharing it without explicit (as in: not just default checked boxes) informed (as in: information about why, what and shared with whom) consent is not just unethical, it's a violation of most known privacy laws.
The widespread practice of blatantly unethical business practices in our industry by both high profile companies and small start-ups alike is something we as professionals should take more seriously.
If we don't, it doesn't only harm the image of our industry, but we'll be faced with ever more regulatory hurdles. The infamous EU cookie law is just the beginning if we don't act to clean up our own industry.
Every second web company seems to have a business model that directly or indirectly generates revenue through stalking people on a massive scale. This cannot possible be sustainable without a huge backlash.
They included: Several people with the same name as I (expected, not really creepy).
But also: People that I trained martial arts with, and I NEVER exchanged electronic messages with them, and I do not talk with them for 4 years now. Also I doubt they remember me to search me, I am not much remarkable.
People that I met at school and church 6, 7 years ago, and that again, I never exchanged electronic messages with them.
Yes, LinkedIn is very, very, very creepy.
If you do not like that aspect of the social network, do not join it.
Would it creep you out if I guess which month you were born in? Probably not.
Would it creep you out if I guessed your exact birthday, including month/day/year? Hell yeah it would.
It has nothing to do with whether or not one wants to be social, and everything to do with random, axe-murderer creepiness. Imagine if I walked up to you at a party and rattled off names of 5 random people from different aspects of your life; would that not freak you out? "Oh, you don't know me, but I know you ;)". That's virtually the same thing that is happening here.
Well, if your instructor kept emails of all students in his personal address book, and he happened to share it with LinkedIn, then LinkedIn may deduce that each person on the list may be somehow connected to each other.
I find it interesting that it has automated what some folks have done on their own for years. There was a woman at Netapp who managed these sorts of potential and known relationships in her head about the folks working at a couple of big Netapp customers.
I guess what I find amusing is that it is was my experience when introducing myself to someone new at a social event and saying "I work at <company>" or "Yeah, I grew up in Las Vegas" or something along those lines I would often get "Really, I knew this person <name> who worked/lived there, did you know them?" as social banter. It didn't creep me out then either, but I'm sure that for some folks it does.
I think the creepy part about LinkedIn is you can actually see who views who. If Facebook did that it would be very embarrassing for a lot of people.
Is it any creepier than being able to stalk some stranger's Facebook profile anonymously?
If I were a woman, I would be turned off to see something like this.
Anyway, just as a little anecdotal test, I just logged into LinkedIn and looked at two profiles, both attractive women, where one is a recruiter and the other is a developer. In the recruiter case, every single entry in the "people also viewed" list was female (and also a recruiter), in the case of the developer they were almost completely male (with two exceptions) and are either developers or work for the same company.
I don't know... maybe this is indicative of something that should be considered "creepy" but I have my doubts.
So... are attractive women particularly drawn to recruiting for some reason, or is physical appearance a hiring criteria for recruiting companies? Both? Neither?
She was interested in it primarily for the pay; they were promising something like 45-60k a year, and her current position was only around $30k. You start off as a recruiter, and then you move up into account management, which is better pay and a larger budget for wining and dining clients.
Now I can see that there's a secondary use for an attractive LinkedIn profile picture as well. That might have a lot more leverage than cold-calling offices these days.
Gonna be fun times when everyone has Google Glass and that data leaks or, more likely, continues to be volunteered by others without my consent.
The only thing I can think of is that it's matching IP addresses and concluding my two accounts are the same account.
On the other hand, I'm not sure how well separated I kept those, so it could have been cookies linking the accounts. (I did this way back in 2010, so my memory is fuzzy.)
Update: Creepy. But I think most of this data can be lifted from other users who imported contacts from GMail. I think they must be matching only by name, because people could have been in touch with different mail addresses (at a previous employer, for instance).
Several people have hit upon the major method LinkedIn uses which is that someone you know who has your name/email/... (or likely many someones) uploaded an address book to LinkedIn. LinkedIn then infers that because that person knows you, that you may know the other people they know (which is often true). They then combine that when a bunch of far more complicated inferences to generate the list.
The goal of course is to provide suggestions to someone who just signed up. Sadly, the reason it feels creepy is because it seems like voodoo. They could do a better job explaining how it worked, but a lot of the bigger inferences are secret sauce.
Endorsed: Product Knowledge.
I searched for an ex once on LinkedIn and found nothing...until a year later when she finally signed on and there she was in my "you might know" suggestion list.
I got questions like; "At which of these 5 addresses has $BROTHER ever lived before?" And one of them was correct.
Also, how much of the perceived "creepiness" of someone searching for someone on LinkedIn just a variation of this: http://thedoghousediaries.com/1042 ?
The other thing I'll say is perhaps this author is tapped out of "People you may know" and LinkedIn is simply guessing . Mine looks fairly reasonable, random, and not like they were digging particularly deep.
It's reasons like this I wish someone would do a Public/Private key based p2p social network. Essentially you digitally sign a key that you know someone and that's how you derive connections. Seems like you could implement browsable profiles as well.
There would still be the key-exchange problem (I can't imagine a system that would make it easy for non-technical people to exchange keys out of band, even if you could explain why that was necessary and what it means), but with good browser tools I bet the number of zero-knowledge type sites/p2p networks would explode.
Applied to a new job and started working there, after a few months I decided to look up my managers LinkedIn profile, only to notice that on his page the "also viewed" section showed employees from my older company and family. So yeah, so now I know he was trying to figure out more about me through LinkedIn.
Social networks encourage creepy behavior amongst their users. LinkedIn lets you know who viewed your profile while Facebook doesn't. Personally I'd rather know.
I don't think anyone is giving explicit permission to let the world know they have been snooping around other people's profiles. Although this information is not directly published it leaks through their "features".
The import contacts feature is particularly nefarious, it says "import" but it actually keeps checking down the track (or at least it used to work like that).
from a pure-business-no-ethics perspective, why would you care what anyone else thought? w/ that point of view: every connection or link, however creepy, makes the system as whole more valuable to subscribers.
personally, the feature doesn't have enough churn, so i always see the same 5 faces, 99% of the time it's background...otherwise it would probably creep me out slash annoy more.
Error establishing a database connection
as more creepy :)
I'm guessing the "likes" you have that cause the targeted ads to hone in on you would also make many folks blush.
At least, before I shut mine down some months ago, I had plenty of interesting likes but I never had any ads that didn't match my content.
I'm happy that your anecdotal experience was different from mine, but your empirical evidence does not undermine mine.
Good day sir.
I suppose there's also the possibility of malware replacing FB's ads with their own.
I was shocked, for example, when I learned that a certain social network gives universal profile access to employees as a perk. That would not happen at Google. If you looked at your high-school ex-girlfriend's email, you'd be fired immediately (and deserve it).
Social is creepy, because it's all about being defined by other people, which is ridiculous and horrible. What, so do I suck at Programming Languages because I haven't trolled my 25 closest acquaintances for endorsements? Am I really going to become more credible in Machine Learning if I get 15 strangers to "endorse" me?
The major conflict in "Social" is what I call "Document vs. Improve" (or: Exploit vs. Explore). A social app can expand the web of social connections and make it more efficient, but (a) that's really hard, and (b) there isn't a lot of short-term money in it. Or it can document social relationships that already exist, and make a shit-ton of money off the data. That's easy, but it doesn't actually make anyone's life better. Guess which one the mainstream social players favor?
What I find depressing about LinkedIn is how much it has play-by-play replicated the old, broken way of doing things. Resumes. Titles and dates of employment. Recommendations. Recruiter spam. It feels like the Wayback Machine took us to 1995.
With all due respect, but you've gotta joking.
Google doesn't even hold itself to the standards set by the laws in countries it operates in. Laws that are for now still full of loopholes Google happily exploits with zero restraint, despite knowing full well (not in the last place because they've been warned on a regular basis) that this at the very least violates the intent of those privacy laws.
Also, Google has been actively lobbying against privacy protection laws in the EU for several years now.
Two projects I found fascinating:
1) A system that analyses all attempts and actual accesses to user data by employees (this access it self was very regulated on a need-only basis), determining whether the given user that was accessed falls somewhere within the employee's likely social graph, and flagging anything suspicious to their security team. So if an employee tried to view their ex's info, or their friend's roommates info, etc. the system would auto-flag them and an investigation would likely result in that employee being immediately terminated.
2) Much of Google's data is accessible by many production services. This is a security weakness, however, there was a project to make the data layer enforce security constraints so that applications could only access data relavent to them, and additionally also enforcing security on a user-level (so an app could only access that user's data if it had an access token for that user). Mind you, this is not even limiting admin access, this is actually preventing the code from accessing the data even if the app's built-in security features fail.
| Also, Google has been actively lobbying
| against privacy protection laws in the EU
| for several years now.
 Could be a requirement or a limitation. If your company keeps data indefinitely, then maybe a law saying, "everyone keeps records 2 years, then destroys them" is a limitation. On the other hand, if you retain no information, then it's an extra burden, and an erosion of privacy.
I do not see why one needs "legal standard" to evaluate somebody's actions. Why not use the standard that is supposed to be the base for the legal standard instead? If in some country it is illegal to publish links that the government thinks are inappropriate, and Google doesn't like it - why would we consider Google being in the wrong?
Stating, "Google is not good at privacy because they violate some law and I like that law." Is a perfectly valid argument.
Stating, "Google is bad because it doesn't follow a privacy law I won't describe, in a random country I won't name." Does not advance the conversation in any meaniful way.
Fixed that for you.
This is a rather insidious thing to say without naming the network, particularly in a comment on a post about a particular network. Which is it?
I know that both Facebook and LinkedIn have similarly strict rules about what user data you can look at.
Personally I'd argue that this isn't QUITE equivalent to giving employees access to all users' email accounts. That would be a better analogy if they were giving employees access to users' private messages.
Didn't think people would actually be logging into accounts on a whim to check out users.
However, it has been quite helpful for me. A year ago, I was not happy with my job. I worked hard and long hours and felt like I was going nowhere. At the same time I didn't try looking for a new one because I didn't have enough confidence in my work experience.
All that changed when a HR manager from a different company found me through LinkedIn. We clicked really well. I am getting paid more than what I used to and I love my job. I also got promoted a few months ago.
Since that experience, I have changed my attitude about job hunting. Now, I am always on the look out for the next big opportunity. LinkedIn helps with that without me putting in too much work.
FYI, I have no endorsements on my profile. Just my basic resume.
LinkedIn seems to be expanding as a magnet for scummy and crappy recruiters. Awesome strategy guys. I love getting unsolicited phone calls from clueless strangers. At least I can ignore emails.
I think the business model for LinkedIn is to try and replace salesforce.com. Eg, maintain customer contacts on an interactive database.
The job search aspect is useful, but it needs work. targeted postings seems a lot less intrusive. the recruiter angle, selling premium access to my contact details is just obnoxious. gives us a good reason to shut down the profile.
How would you do it differently ? Genuinely interested in your opinion on this.
My first thought about resumes is that they serve two purposes, one legitimate and one not:
(a) social status grading, which is easy for douchebags to game and for extortionists ("do <X> or I'll fire you and give you a bad reference") to abuse.
(b) a list of "ask me about <X>" topics where X ranges over areas of professional expertise and interests, so they can probe you during the interview as to what you actually know.
I'd focus on (b) while throwing (a) to the wind. One thought I had is an "allocate 20 points" system. You don't actually have to prove anything because resumes suck at that, but if you put "Machine Learning: 7" that shows that you view yourself as being "35%" Machine Learning and are fairly comfortable discussing it on an interview.
This leads to the concept of a scarce graph, which is weighted but also imposes granularity (e.g. 20-point limit with 1-point minimum units) to prevent sprawl, and forces people to prioritize. Running graph algorithms against scarce graphs, with data pertaining to peoples' desires for connection (new jobs, new candidates) could be interesting.
So there's that. You get as much legitimate information out of a 20-point allocation of interests and experience as you would out of a resume or a job posting. What you don't get is the social status bullshit (dates and titles).
Ok, onto fixing the labor market in general, I think the best solution I can come up with is to build this: http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/fixing-employ...
That's Part I. Part II comes from the fact that, if Part I is build, people are going to want to get better, fast, at marketing themselves so their call options trade at a higher rate. That leads naturally into career coaching (a better model than traditional recruiting) but also into objective evaluation of, for example, source code quality. Now we can actually verify that, yes, John is a top-notch programmer and his $200/hr-struck call options actually aren't out of the money.
Part III would be to use all the professional development data thus gathered and start scoring employers based on how much value they add to peoples' careers. How fast does a typical person grow, as a programmer, after 2 years at Google? What does it do for that person's employment potential 10 years down the road? Those would be great things to know.
That's one of the hilarious things about linkedin attributes; people accrue tags that have vastly different importance depending on context. But hey, it's hard to say no to someone else vouching for my Computer Animation trait, whatever that means. It has the same sort of vague benefit with negligible cost situation as friend graphs. This is why I like your idea of careful scarce allocation, vs. limitless accrual. Information is only meaningful inasmuch as it represents choice.
Old, yes. Broken, no (at least not for the examples you mention). They work, they're familiar, and so they're a much easier "sell" to prospective users.
I worked for a social network that gave universal profile access for every employee, even a specific admin function to log in as any user, but it was never treated as a perk, but a tool to fix errors in their profiles and such. There was no explicit rule about using it for snooping and there was indeed a fair amount of it (more impersonal, "look at the (possibly private) photo of this user" than "let's see how's doing my ex-girlfriend"); however, the shadier uses of the tool were definitely not encouraged and I think someone got into trouble for doing things he wasn't supposed to. After all, they weren't stupid, they kept a log of such accesses.
Except that Google has for some time now been waging an all-out assault on the concept of anonymity, which at least in my mind is an important part of privacy.