Published on February 5, 2024, 5:18 p.m.
by Malia Elliott.
Let’s admit it: We have all received a LinkedIn connection request from a random person we do not know, or maybe even someone we do not think should be trying to connect with us at all, due to being in a different industry or other reasons. But did you ever think the person was trying to flirt? Did you ever compare their connection request to a “like” on Bumble, Hinge or some other dating app?
Well, in 2024, LinkedIn is frequently being used as a sort of dating app. A 24-year-old woman reported to Business Insider that three separate men messaged her on LinkedIn with messages similar to “sliding in her DM’s.” LinkedIn has roughly 1 billion users in more than 200 countries, and while it is unknown how many view it as acceptable to flirt with someone on the platform, we do know LinkedIn does not condone such behavior. The community policies page strictly points out, “LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, not a dating site.”
But what does this issue mean for LinkedIn? Is there anything the company can do about it? Better yet, could this be the beginning of the end for the largest online professional networking platform?
While I do not believe this is the “downfall” of LinkedIn, I do believe there is some serious potential for bad public relations implications and unsatisfied users here. One report claims that 74% of women have deactivated their LinkedIn accounts or reduced their time spent on the platform due to unprofessional messages. A statistic more shocking than that from another report is that 91% of female users have received inappropriate messages on the platform.
LinkedIn has not made public statements about the rising topic, beyond its community policies page, although it is unknown the last time this page was updated. But it brings to mind, what should the company say or do?
A moneymaker for LinkedIn is that users are capable of upgrading their accounts to premium to unlock more perks. Some of the perks are being able to see other users who have viewed your account and full search access with unlimited weekly searches. This option is starkly similar to the capabilities of dating app premium perks. For example, Bumble allows you to view who likes your account and gives you unlimited weekly likes if you have a premium account.
I would argue that one of the easiest ways to counteract this growing issue is for LinkedIn to rethink its premium user capabilities. Moreover, it might be smart for LinkedIn to update its user guidelines to include more specific policies surrounding using the platform as a dating app.
As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn is meant to connect those in similar industries and has long been thought of as a sort of “safe place” to connect. If reports continue to rise about this dating trend, LinkedIn’s status as a professional networking platform could be in serious jeopardy. As more women leave or reduce their time spent on the platform, it brings to question whether the quality of LinkedIn as a place to connect professionally is also being jeopardized.
So, what’s your take? Is LinkedIn the new Tinder or is it quickly on a downfall if it does not make changes to counteract this new trend?