Here We Go Again – LinkedIn Updates Its User Agreement

There are times in my life when I hate that I am right about something. Like the time I thought an employee was stealing from my store back in the day and two days later I caught them doing just that. I have spoken, written, and raised my fist to the heavens that LinkedIn was going to change their terms of service, and it was going to be very interesting with the legal speak, and just like catching the thief it looks like I may be right.

LinkedIn came out with its “yet again” NEW terms of service on May 8th, 2018. The average person would not care about this, but I am not average, I am Abby normal (bonus points for those who get the reference). I decided to read the “agreement” that you are signing to stay on sight, sort of like chattel you are giving up quite a bit for them to lead you to slaughter if you are NOT a recruiter and also if you are. Let’s go over some of the highlights that stood out.

You agree that by clicking “Join Now”, “Join LinkedIn”, “Sign Up” or similar, registering, accessing or using our services (described below), you are agreeing to enter into a legally binding contract with LinkedIn (even if you are using our Services on behalf of a company). If you do not agree to this contract (“Contract” or “User Agreement”), do not click “Join Now” (or similar) and do not access or otherwise use any of our Services. If you wish to terminate this contract, at any time, you can do so by closing your account and no longer accessing or using our Services.

Well, let’s start out being as ominous as possible with the first paragraph I guess. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this but hey maybe kiss me first before we get super serious? This set the preface as to what was going to come next.

  • You own all of the content, feedback, and personal information you provide to us, but you also grant us a non-exclusive license to it.

Well then, anything you say or do can be held against you by our marketing department. I guess there goes putting up blog posts for most people, including me. Another freebie for Microsoft and LinkedIn I suppose for the right to share YOUR information with the general planet and for them to monetize it. There is an elaborate break down under this section that I could write an entire post about so if you are a writer you may want to look at this section on your own time.

  • We may change, suspend or end any Service, or change and modify prices prospectively in our discretion. To the extent allowed under law, these changes may be effective upon notice provided to you.

Well, at least they are kissing us with this one before changing the script again, which if history shows they will again by next year in their favor.

  • We can each end this Contract anytime we want.

Yes it says this on the sidebar with the legal stuff on the side, but this is not the best part, NO that is coming up and like I have been saying it is going to be very interesting in the future.

  • LinkedIn is a community of professionals. This list of “Dos and Don’ts” along with our Professional Community Policies limit what you can and cannot do on our Services.

And there is the rub of the foundation that has been laid with the previous legal mumbo jumbo. This is where it can and will affect you tool loving friends to scrape information from the LI site. This clause, in particular, should make you go hmmm.

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  • Develop, support or use software, devices, scripts, robots, or any other means or processes (including crawlers, browser plugins, and add-ons, or any other technology) to scrape the Services or otherwise copy profiles and other data from the Services
  • Copy, use, disclose or distribute any information obtained from the Services, whether directly or through third parties (such as search engines), without the consent of LinkedIn;
  • Use bots or other automated methods to access the Services, add or download contacts, send or redirect messages;

These were the top three things that stood out to me as a layman, but this looks like big trouble to me. Let’s recap. First, they tell us that this is a one-sided agreement with them and they OR we can terminate service whenever either party wants to, (no legal on refunds by the way). Second they can use what you write or post for their needs without compensating you in any way, and lastly, if you try to get any information from the site with an automated tool, they can terminate your membership. Sounds pretty one-sided to me but hey I am a layman, and maybe I am missing something.

So, kids, watch your backs because it looks like LinkedIn/Microsoft is done with lawsuits and is going after the base that helped build them.

Side note, there are some tools that you should be able to use that do not scrape LinkedIn, but I do not want to promote anyone here. Ask Dean Da Costa or I privately, you should be able to get our contact info pretty quickly I mean you are a sourcer, right?

Unfortunately, there was a broken link to the LinkedIn Blog to learn what these changes mean to us.

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing in the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliance. Currently, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions for Engage Talent. He has experience with both third-party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland area. Now, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage.

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