Social Networks: Support, Abuse and Filters

Today I received a spammy-spoofy email that looked like it was from LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a service I trust and respect; it moved conscientiously and cautiously in the face(book) of pressure from multiple social networking sites.

As times get tight, it will be interesting to see what happens with social networks. The pessimist in me suspects that schemes and scams will increase, as well as sincere, legitimate requests for connections and job assistance from true friends.

I hope people will be supportive of their closest contacts and colleagues. Tim Sanders’ Love Is the Killer App is a quick read and perhaps too touch-feely for some, but the premise is good— be open, trusting and giving with your social network.

As a social network, we can help stop abuse from scammers and schemers. Here is,

What I Did and you can do, too

  1. Check the message title and source in email headers. (Yep, spoofed as L:inkedIn)
  2. Check my own LinkedIn network and groups. (Did someone I know harvest names? Nope.)
  3. Check the LinkedIn groups that I manage (AICC and LETSI). (Not a member; if so I would have bounced them out of the group. I will be monitoring these groups.)
  4. Check Terms of Service. (No, this does not seem consistent with TOS.)
  5. Report the abuse if any. (In this case, I turned on full headers and forwarded the email to abuse (AT) linkedin.com.)

The LinkedIn User Agreement is notable for a few key sections that I appreciated:

2. Your Rights — What You May Do
3. Our Rights and Obligations — What We Must And May Do
and
11. LinkedIn User DOs & DON’Ts

I’ll be tracking this one, since this scammer is quasi-promoting LinkedIn, via their claim to be an expert on using LinkedIn for job-hunting and encourages its use. That seems to be a conflict of interest for LinkedIn. We’ll see.

UPDATE November 21, 2008: LinkedIn got back to me on November 19, indicating they were investigating the spam. As of November 21, 2008 the alleged scammer/spammer is still on LinkedIn promoting their personal network of 2M “friends & colleagues” along with their skills in recruiting and life balance. Draw your own conclusions.

Meantime, there are plenty of ways to find experts on job-hunting with LinkedIn. We also all need to be aware of way Clay Shirky (author of Here Comes Everybody ) labels as a “failure of filters”– in social networks, emails, twitter and even blogs. I encourage others to filter actively and with fairness.

Social Network Terms of Service and Abuse Reporting