Not just Twitter. LinkedIn has a fake account problem it’s trying to fix

Anyone who relies on LinkedIn to search for jobs, find business partners, or other opportunities is likely aware that the corporate social media site has had issues with fake profiles. While it’s no different than other social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, it presents a different set of issues for users looking to use LinkedIn for business purposes.

Between January 1 and June 30, more than 21 million fake accounts were detected and removed from LinkedIn, according to the company’s community report. While 95.3% of these fake accounts were stopped upon registration by automated defenses, according to the company, there was an almost 28% increase in fake accounts detected over the six-month period. former. LinkedIn says it currently has more than 875 million members on its platform.

While the MicrosoftThe platform-owned professional social media platform has rolled out new features over the past few months to help users better determine if someone contacting them is a real or fake profile, cybersecurity experts say that platform users can do several things to protect themselves.

Creators of fake LinkedIn profiles sometimes attempt to drive engagement through content linking to malicious sites, said Mike Clifton, executive vice president and chief information and digital officer at Alorica, a global information technology company. customer service outsourcing.

“For example, we see those revolving around posts and content promoting a business event, like a webinar, who use real photos and people’s real information to legitimize information and inspire others to register, often on a fake third-party website,” Clifton said.

How to avoid being taken in by fraudulent profiles

Cybercriminals often rely on a human touch to make LinkedIn users feel like the fake profile belongs to someone they know or is two degrees away from someone they know. “This has been going on for years and at this point may still elude even sophisticated fraud detectors,” Clifton said. “As we remind our employees and customers, it is important to remain vigilant and engage with caution on social media to protect your information.”

Recruiters who rely heavily on LinkedIn to source potential employees may find fake profiles particularly troublesome, said Akif Khan, vice president and analyst at research firm Gartner.

“Additionally, in other areas of fraud management – ​​for example, when suspicious e-commerce transactions are manually reviewed – officers will check social media sites, including LinkedIn, to try to see if [a] person has a credible fingerprint that would suggest they are a real person rather than a fake identity,” Khan said.

For these reasons, it can be useful for bad actors to have fake LinkedIn profiles, Khan said.

Gartner sees the problem of fake accounts on all social media platforms. “Bad actors try to create fake identities and make them real by leaving a plausible-looking digital footprint across different platforms,” Khan said.

Fake profiles are more likely to be set up manually, Khan said, however, where bad actors create large numbers of fake profiles — which can be used to abuse advertising processes or to sell large volumes of followers or followers. on-demand likes – they will be using bots to automate this process of creating fake accounts.

The challenge for LinkedIn users is that profiles on social media platforms are easy to create and are generally not verified in any way. LinkedIn has asked users who encounter content on the platform that may be false to report it to the company. Users should specifically be on the lookout for profiles with abnormal profile pictures or incomplete work histories, and other indicators, including inconsistencies in profile picture and education.

“Always seek corroboration from other sources if you’re viewing an account and making decisions based on what you see,” Khan said. “The biggest issue here is with the platforms themselves. They need to ensure that they have appropriate measures in place to detect and prevent automated account creation, especially on a large scale.”

What does LinkedIn do to detect fakes and bots?

Detection tools exist, but their use is not an exact science. “Verifying a user’s identity when creating an account would be another effective way to make it more difficult for fake accounts to be created, but such identity verification would have an impact in terms of cost and experience. user,” Khan said. “So these platforms are trying to strike a balance in terms of account integrity and not discouraging users from creating accounts,” he said.

LinkedIn is taking steps to address the issue of fake accounts.

The site uses technologies such as artificial intelligence with teams of experts to remove policy-violating content it detects before the content goes live. The vast majority of fake accounts detected are caught by automated defenses such as AI, according to a blog post from Oscar Rodriguez, Vice President of Product Management at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn declined to comment further.

The Company also works with peer companies, policy makers, law enforcement and government agencies in an effort to prevent fraudulent activity on the Site.

In its latest effort to stop fake accounts, LinkedIn rolled out new features and systems in October to help users make more informed decisions about which members they interact with, as well as improve its automated systems that maintain inauthentic profiles and activities outside the platform.

An “about this profile” feature tells users when profiles were created and last updated, as well as information on whether members had verified phone numbers and/or associated work emails to their accounts. The goal is for viewing this information to help users decide whether to accept a connection request or respond to a message.

According to LinkedIn, rapid advances in AI-based synthetic image generation technology have led to the creation of a deep learning model to better capture profiles created with AI. AI-powered image generators can create an unlimited number of unique, high-quality profile photos that don’t represent real people, Rodriguez wrote in the blog post, and fake accounts sometimes use those photos. compelling AI-generated profile templates to create a profile. appear more authentic.

The deep learning model proactively checks profile photo uploads to determine if an image is AI-generated, using technology designed to detect subtle image artifacts associated with the image generation process AI-based synthetics — without performing facial recognition or biometric scans, Rodriguez wrote.

The model helps increase the effectiveness of LinkedIn’s automated abuse defenses to help detect and remove fake accounts before they can reach members.

The company also added a warning to certain LinkedIn posts that include high-risk content that could impact user safety. For example, users can be warned about messages asking them to pick up conversations on other platforms, as this could be a sign of a scam.

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