Chuck Carroll

The Kafkaesque Experience of Setting Up a LinkedIn Account

Published: 2024-03-31

Against my better judgment, I decided to set up a new LinkedIn account. I previously had a 10+ year old account that I deleted 4 years ago because 1) it had never been useful for jobs, networking, or for getting interviews, 2) it's filled to the brim with circle jerking, self-promotion, and self-congratulatory trash, and 3) it's a walled garden that can't be used unless you have a LinkedIn account which makes the idea that it's a public place you can stick your resume on null and void. In fact, I wrote a post a few years ago about Why I'm Not on LinkedIn. However, I've been considering making a professional change in the future and wanted to reach to people that are in the career I've been considering pivoting to. So here's my experience setting up a LinkedIn account.

I successfully set up the account using a personal email address based on my own domain. I was surprised they didn't ask for a phone number (at first), though they did send me a verification email which is the standard when you set up an account just about anywhere online. Wow, my first traditional social media account in 4 years! I can't help but wonder if I'm betraying my values...

I immediately went into settings then disabled all advertising, tracking, and the sharing of personal data with 3rd parties. Then I set up software based timed two-factor authentication. I assume protecting your account the best way possible will reduce the likelihood of it getting flagged. I'm feeling pretty good so far and thinking I'll primarily use it to as a simple profile with a link in my "About Me" to direct people/recruiters to my actual professional website, following the POSSE philosophy (Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere).

Upon trying to log back in the very next day, before I'm even asked for my two-factor authentication token, I was required to do a CAPTCHA that makes you select the animal standing in the correct way. Okay. Then on the next screen, I was greeted with another "security check" where it forces me to "Enter your phone number to confirm it's you". The fact I'm forced to disclose my phone number when I didn't need to yesterday rubs me the wrong way... ugh, fine. I wasn't thrilled to be handing it over, but I did divulge my phone number to LinkedIn even though I hate doing that. I received a code via SMS, entered it, then hit next.

LinkedIn forcing me to divulge my phone number

On the very next screen I get a notice that my account has been "temporarily restricted". In order to get it unlocked, I need to verify my identity: "We first need to verify your identity to ensure your account safety. To regain access to your account, please submit a government-issued ID." WTF? Why did I just have to go through these hoops like providing my phone number? Clicking "Verify" directs me to a page with a QR code which you're intended to scan with a smartphone.

LinkedIn informing me that despite confirming a phone number, my account is restricted

LinkedIn uses a 3rd party called Persona where I have to take a photo of both the front and back of my government issued ID and a selfie. First of all, there's no way in hell I'm going to scan and upload a copy of my government-issued ID to a third party whose privacy policy can be summarized as "You can trust us, pinky promise!". On top of that, they claim that they need to make sure that what's on your government-issued ID matches with what's on your LinkedIn profile. I can imagine how this will become problematic because there are people who go by a different name than what's on their ID (my given name is Charles, but I go by Chuck). I can only assume this ID verification, if not done by AI, is probably outsourced to a person in another country who might not know that Chuck is short for Charles.

LinkedIn and Persona demanding that I provide a photo of my government issued ID

Needless to say, I thought this was absolutely ridiculous. I was not using a VPN or anything else that could be construed as sketchy, so I tried contacting LinkedIn support and submitting a ticket. Maybe I could reason with someone at LinkedIn, but of course I'm an idiot for thinking that because it's impossible to submit a ticket unless you're logged into a LinkedIn account. From what I can tell, this is now standard procedure for all new (and even some old) LinkedIn accounts.

So in conclusion, fuck LinkedIn. I was a fool for even trying to be on the platform, and I now feel even more vindicated with stance that LinkedIn is a cesspool that's not worth anyone's time.

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