LinkedIn’s User Agreement

In this week’s reading reaction we looked at the Terms and Conditions of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which were also briefly covered in lecture. For this week’s assignment I decided to tackle the Terms of Service for another social media channel that could be very valuable to me in the future, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is quickly growing to be my second favorite channel, behind Facebook, so I decided to analyze what you can and cannot do on the channel.

Some aspects of LinkedIn’s User Agreement¬†are confusing and contradictory. Firstly, I take LinkedIn very seriously as a digital resume and an opportunity for working professionals to showcase themselves to potential employers. If every member of LinkedIn is supposed to be a working professional, why is the minimum age in the United States only thirteen? At thirteen years old a person is barely legal to work, so I find it hard to believe that they should be allowed to have a LinkedIn profile. If the majority of thirteen year olds are not working, then they’re either not on LinkedIn or they are using a profile for something they shouldn’t be using it for. It is my feeling that LinkedIn should raise the minimum age of users to at least fifteen or sixteen, in order to prevent the creation of fake profiles or inappropriate content, which is also part of the User Agreement.

Like with Facebook, the user owns the content they publish, but LinkedIn has the right to use content published on the channel at their discretion without notifying the user. I don’t like that part of the agreement, but I understand that LinkedIn is a business. When a song I wrote was chosen to be recorded by an independent record label, the contract said I retained all rights to the song, but they had the discretion to change the arrangement or lyrics as they saw fit to increase the quality of the song. With that, I am also allowed to sell the song to another label if I choose, a label that could keep everything the way it was originally intended. I may not like every detail in the agreement, but I don’t think I can make an argument that there’s anything unethical about that detail.

As is the case with Twitter, LinkedIn does not monitor all content and it is up to the users to report anything illegal or unethical. However, it says that LinkedIn has the right to limit or prohibit contact between LinkedIn members or limit the amount of connections a person has. If a LinkedIn user is “solely responsible for your interactions with other Members,” then how is LinkedIn allowed to limit interactions? If an interaction has been reported and LinkedIn revokes your right to that interaction after the fact, that should be made more clear in the User Agreement.

As of right now, those are the ethical dilemmas of LinkedIn I object to. If they could reword some of the entries to make them more understandable, many of their ethical issues would be resolved. I’m looking forward to seeing how they revise this agreement in the future.