Is LinkedIn the new Tinder? While many of its 930 million members use the networking site for professional purposes, some see it as a way to hit on women, according to a new survey.
But this isn’t going over well with many female users who rely on the site for drumming up business, making contacts, and learning about recent trends. Some are even choosing to leave the site altogether.
Passport Photo Online surveyed 1,049 US female LinkedIn users who log in to the platform at least once weekly about being propositioned on the platform. About 91% said they received romantic advances or sexually inappropriate messages at least once. Many unwanted flirtations (31%) come straight to their DMs.
“It’s amusing how my inbox is flooded with more messages from guys trying to hit on me than I receive from people seeking to network. I guess my charm and business acumen are just too irresistible for some,” wrote one survey taker.
What the inappropriate messages say
The survey asked women to reveal the contents of the unasked-for overtures and found that nearly 32% received requests to date or hook up, 30% were asked for “intimate personal information,” and 14% got unsolicited flattery.
Nearly 12% of those surveyed reported being sent a crude message.
How women react
Perhaps needless to say, most of those surveyed did not appreciate the lechery on LinkedIn. Fourteen percent reported being “annoyed,” while 9% felt “violated.”
Some responded directly to the sender, saying they were being inappropriate (44%). Half that number just chose to ignore the messages. About 17% reported the behavior to LinkedIn or blocked the sender.
Most women surveyed (74%) found the relentless flirtations too much to bear and either limited their use of LinkedIn or left the network entirely.
“I’ve had a few too many instances where people took it too far. It’s uncomfortable, so I ended up taking a break from LinkedIn for a while,” wrote one survey taker.
Why are people using LinkedIn as a dating site?
The survey did not reach out to those perpetrating the inappropriate behavior, leaving us only to theorize why the behavior seems so rampant.
In an article in , one expert says that LinkedIn doesn’t screen potential suitors as other dating apps do. “LinkedIn has the lowest barrier to entry and is the least ‘risky’ social platform to connect with someone,” said Molly Fedick, formerly of Hinge. “If you get rejected, you can always default to, ‘Well, I just wanted to connect for professional reasons.’ This is why I think people use LinkedIn to ‘test the waters’— they view it as less aggressive than a Facebook or Instagram request.”
So how do you get LinkedIn back to the business for which it was originally designed?
39% said the platform should increase awareness and education about appropriate behavior.
25% believed LinkedIn should implement stricter guidelines and policies
22% called for a ban on users who repeatedly send inappropriate messages