Recently, I decided to join LinkedIn, to complement my years-long appearance on a different business platform. Things do feel different, which was expected, and it took some getting used to. I added some info to my profile, set up a few links to business partners, and let it rest for a few days.
Then, notification emails started to appear in my email inbox, i.e. announcing new contacts for one of my connected business partners. As I am an adult netizen, these emails are presented to me with their plain text content, rather than the HTML version. And looking through that plain text content, I noticed something strange:
From: LinkedIn Updates <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: <my business partner> has added contacts you might know To: j mozdzen [...] <my business partner> has 4 new contacts: John Doe some job Show profile of John Doe: <some url> Firstname Lastname2 some job Show profile of John Doe: <some url> Firstname Lastname3 some job Show profile of John Doe: <some url> Firstname Lastname4 some job Show profile of John Doe: <some url>
So the email generator this time has a tiny bug, inserting the name of the first new contact preceding the links to the profiles of all contacts in this list. This is nothing spectacular and wouldn’t justify a blog article on its own.
What does, is the reaction of the LinkedIn support team. These kind of errors are the pre-steps to data leaks, and should be looked into accordingly by the support team. I had forwarded them a description of the issue, first-level support handed it to second-level support, and the latter simply didn’t want to spoil their day by doing work: All I got in response was that this would have to be reported by the owner of the sending account.
No-one, even after me asking back, did even a quick check to see if the problem is reproducible (which would have been an easy task, using three test accounts I’m sure are available to the support staff). But LinkedIn obviously has not interest in fixing obvious problems, but rather prefers to close them without even looking into the details.
And that’s where the question from this article’s title came from, and it’s not even about privacy: If they don’t care to look into even this obvious error, I wouldn’t trust them to react if I reported a case of serious mis-represented data, maybe mangling my list of skills or alike.
After this experience, my answer to it is clear: No, I don’t trust them to handle my data correctly.