To verify or NOT to verify on Linkedin? That is the question

Feb 20, 2024 | Accountants, Business development

Early in 2023 Linkedin started encouraging users to ”Verify now’. The message appears in a box alongside your name at the top of your profile.

If you complete the process your name will be followed by a little tick in a shield to show you have verified your profile and that you are the person you claim to be.

An accountant recently asked my views on this as Linkedin have outsourced the verification process to a third party company that wants our passport details.

Many people are understandably uncomfortable sharing such information with an unknown company.

The first thing to clarify here is that Linkedin has outsourced this so that the ‘proof’ of ID is handled by a trusted independent specialist company.

It seems that Linkedin felt we would consider this preferable to sharing such ID with Linkedin.

Linkedin tell us that they know that “authenticity is key to creating meaningful interactions”.

“The verification badge on your profile indicates that you were able to confirm specific information about your account. Having verified information helps provide authenticity signals to others that you’re who you say you are”.

In other words the idea is to reduce the facility for bots and fake profiles to waste our time or mislead us.

So the idea is a good one.

The methods available depend on where you are based and the services, passports and other acceptable ID evidence available.

For most of my connections in the UK we will be using the third-party identity verification service provided by an independent company: Persona.

IS IT NECESSARY?
If your current and prospective connections are concerned about fake profiles and bots, then, in time, they may choose to only engage with verified profiles.

Linkedin tell us that they hope to reach 10% of verified profiles by the end of 2025. On the one hand, that would mean a significant majority would NOT be verified. On the other hand 100M+ members with verified accounts would probably still give LinkedIn the largest verified cohort of users on the web. We might want to be part of that (nearer the time anyway).

IS IT HELPFUL?
It certainly can’t hurt. Your passport info is (so we’re told) not stored or shared online.

In time, it is possible that Linkedin will prioritise the sharing of content from ‘verified’ profiles. But that’s someway off as so few profiles are yet verified and the concept may or may not take off.

Linkedin tell us that verified profiles get more views than unverified ones. I’m sure recruiters make that distinction. Whether it’s (yet) the case for the rest of us probably depends on whether the people you want to look at your profile have seen too many fake ones.

ANY DOWNSIDES?

You have to share your passport details with Persona.  They appear to be a reputable business with a multitude of clients – beyond Linkedin. They may even be used by some accountants for AML/KYC compliance.

However, among their T&Cs they tell us:
“We transfer personal data from the European Economic Area (EEA), United Kingdom (UK), and Switzerland to other countries, some of which have not been determined by the European Commission to have an adequate level of data protection.”

How normal or acceptable this is I do not know given that Persona also tell us that:

“Our security and privacy frameworks are based on and aligned with global standards that ensure the highest grade of security is met and exceeded”. 

And, in the context of GDPR that:

“Security and privacy are paramount to a trusted relationship. That’s why Persona is compliant and certified to the highest industry standards and committed to protecting you and your customers’ privacy”.

HOW DO YOU DO IT?
Even though the prompt appears on your profile wherever you use Linkedin, you can only complete the process using the Linkedin app on your mobile phone.
There is a simple guide that takes you through the stages.

Apparently for most people it is easy. BUT there have been many reports of people being unable to get the verification they want because their profile name doesn’t EXACTLY match the name in their passport.

I had a go a few weeks ago but gave up. Not sure if it was due to the inclusion of the FCA suffix in my profile name.
I’m not rushing to try again until I know whether the idea has taken hold among my connections. I must admit I’ve rarely connected with a suspicious profile that could be a fake or a bot. Have you?

 

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