New dating app or haunt of stalkers, the funny transformation of LinkedIn

With more than a billion users, LinkedIn is the essential social network for professionals. The platform allows everyone to promote their professional activity and develop their network, two extremely important elements in the world of work. After the acquisition of Microsoft for the modest sum of 26 billion dollars, LinkedIn is doing everything it can to continue its growth.

If LinkedIn is a professional social network, the personal sphere is intruding more and more. While LinkedIn influencers are multiplying and promising incredible turnover to their subscribers, some users even see LinkedIn as their romantic salvation. If 91% of American LinkedIn users have already received inappropriate messages or romantic advances, more than half of the network’s professionals (all genders combined) have already used LinkedIn as a springboard to get a date.

Dating apps better watch out…

In recent months, dating apps have been suffocating. After a very positive period, thanks to the pandemic, times are proving more difficult for Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and their friends. Last year, the two leading groups in meetings saw their stock market valuations plummet. Faced with growing weariness among Internet users looking for love, dating applications must reinvent themselves. In the meantime, users are looking for their happiness elsewhere. Like on LinkedIn! This is not new, some do not stop at the “professional” label of the social network. But the trend has intensified in recent years.

Already in 2015, our colleagues from Digital Century highlighted the disturbing bias of LinkedIn’s algorithm. Based on user habits, it suggested exclusively female profiles to male users after the latter clicked 4 or 5 times on a female profile. Also, it is not uncommon to read testimonials from young women, often destitute, looking for a work-study program, an internship or a job. Professionals do not hesitate to rely on their distress to “address” them.

In addition to unacceptable excesses, LinkedIn is now a flirting tool like any other for many Internet users. A gateway, offering its share of information to break the ice and create a link with a colleague or collaborator who may have caught your eye. LinkedIn profiles are full of information that dating apps don’t necessarily have, and that’s certainly “the secret”. Men or women, it seems that more and more users are looking for love on the professional social network.

As explained by Dr. Jess Carbino, relationship expert but also ex-sociologist for the dating apps Tinder and Bumble, at Figaro, flirting on LinkedIn makes sense. While many couples have been forming in the workplace for years, moving to LinkedIn may just be a simple “evolution” of traditional dating. Where dating apps have “replaced” organic encounters in bars or elsewhere, LinkedIn would replace the birth of a relationship in the corridors of the office. It is also a more reassuring alternative, because it is much less frontal.

However, it is wise to question the ethics of this development, which many users (for the most part) are still experiencing today. The line between love and discomfort is very fine, and the comfortable barrier of social networks like LinkedIn blurs it more and more. Faced with increasing excesses, LinkedIn has notably implemented an optional advanced security feature and says it takes any reports of inappropriate behavior from its users very seriously.

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