Last Updated 5 months by Emily Standley-Allard

Unwanted attention on Instagram, Facebook (Meta), TikTok or Twitter (X) is not a shocking discovery. Many women receive inappropriate messages on these platforms daily, sadly, making it a part of their social media reality. Will this force women to ultimately quit LinkedIn?

The thing that all these platforms have in common is that their character is rather casual, and personal interactions are not something unusual. Thus, maybe it’s easier to ignore unwanted attention?

However, LinkedIn was conceived and marketed as a strictly professional space, a digital realm where skills, experiences, and achievements are meant to shine. Does it stop people from sending inappropriate messages?

Is LinkedIn still a platform for professional networking, or is there a secret underworld with a completely different agenda? That’s what a recent survey-based study (Is LinkedIn the New Tinder?) decided to discover. 

Why do inappropriate messages appear on LinkedIn?

Even though LinkedIn itself states that the platform should have a strictly professional character, in reality, romantic advances have become unwanted guests in many women’s inboxes on the platform.

In fact, 9 in 10 women on LinkedIn have received inappropriate messages or romantic advances on the platform at least once. 

Not only does it violate the policy of the platform, but it also makes women feel uncomfortable or even harassed forcing women to quit LinkedIn.

So why do people who send inappropriate messages on LinkedIn feel like this is the platform for romantic advances? 

It probably has something to do with the ability to check the person’s potential salary and job title. Besides, no dating app has as clear and natural profile pictures as LinkedIn. Moreover, the structure of LinkedIn encourages its users to reach out to each other, even if it’s the first time you’ve ever spoken to them.

For some, reaching out with the pretext of “networking” provides a safety net; if their advances aren’t well received, they can always say they were just networking.

What do women think about all this? 

How do women perceive romantic advances on LinkedIn?

Most inappropriate messages that women receive on LinkedIn are propositions for romantic or sexual encounters. But there are also requests for personal information, unwanted compliments, and unsolicited explicit content. 

How do these messages make women feel? With no surprise, the emotions are negative. Who’d want to receive a flirty message while trying to find a new job or learn something new from their industry?

Women mostly feel annoyed, but they also feel confused, worried, discomforted, and violated. Merely 13% of women on LinkedIn feel indifferent about the romantic advances they receive on the platform. 

So, how do women react to such messages? Mostly (43%), they tell the sender that their message was inappropriate. Some women ignore or delete the message without further action or report and block the user.

Either way, the takeaway is that people should keep their romantic advances outside of LinkedIn. Ideally, they should just keep them on platforms like Tinder. 

The Consequences of Romantic Advances on LinkedIn

People who send inappropriate messages on LinkedIn might think that they are innocent and don’t cause much trouble.

In reality, their actions have serious consequences for LinkedIn’s female users.

Up to 74% of women on LinkedIn have decided to limit their activity on the platform because of the inappropriate messages they receive. 

Looking at the bigger picture, this might mean that more and more women will decide not to use LinkedIn for professional networking. It’s not just because they are annoyed or feel uncomfortable; it’s about losing the professional character of the platform. 

Instead, women might start turning to alternative platforms that will offer a safer environment free from romantic advances.

can already spot female-only networking groups on Facebook that women join to seek career opportunities. Such a shift could mean that LinkedIn is losing valuable talent, reducing the platform’s appeal to recruiters and professionals. 

From businesses’ perspective, recruiters scouting for talent on LinkedIn may lose out on potential female candidates.

Could that mean that companies will have to diversify their recruitment strategies, leaning more towards female-focused platforms to source talent?

What Can LinkedIn Do?

Female LinkedIn users suggested that the platform should Increase awareness and education about appropriate behavior.

Moreover, some said that there should be stricter guidelines and policies on LinkedIn, and some even demanded that LinkedIn should ban users who repeatedly send inappropriate messages.

One thing is clear. If LinkedIn keeps turning a blind eye to this issue, it risks not only its reputation as the best professional networking platform but also might lose a significant user base.

The platform needs to realize that its power isn’t just in the number of users it hosts but, in the quality, and security of the interactions that take place.

Simply put, professionalism should be non-negotiable. 

Conclusion

While LinkedIn was designed to connect professionals around the world, it’s essential that unwanted advances don’t cloud this vision. Inappropriate messages and romantic advances toward female LinkedIn users are surely an issue that should be addressed more carefully and, above all, efficiently. 

Have you ever received such a message on LinkedIn? How did you feel, and what did you do about it? Let us know in the comments. 

Author Bio:

Martyna Inkielman

Martyna Inkielman is a content writer at PhotoAiD – a service that allows you to take a passport photo at home. She enjoys writing about traveling and social media. In her free time, Martyna can be found exploring new cuisines, painting, or taking analog photos. 

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