LinkedIn (LNKD) is being hit with a lawsuit that alleges the work networking site improperly accessed users’ email for contact info that was shared with outside marketers.
LinkedIn users must provide an external email to set up an account — the lawsuit states that the company used the emails and account addresses for monetary gain.
The suit states that LinkedIn sent ‘endorsement emails’ to contacts without users’ consent: It asks that the company halt such actions and return any revenue made due to this alleged breach.
LinkedIn, for its part, denies any wrongdoing — and may likely walk away without a blemish considering recent history.
Note that in 2012, LinkedIn sued for accessing 6.5 million users’ passwords — but the company was acquitted in 2013.
Data usage guidelines have thus far shown to be not a perfected art for social media companies, to include Facebook and Twitter.
These companies often walk a fine line between making money off user information and contract lists, and protecting the privacy rights of its users.
LinkedIn’s industrywide reputation as a job networking site would be hit hard if users believed their privacy was being exploited; however the site in recent years has become very valuable for job-hunters who may feel that the relationship is a win-win.
LNKD stock is down 23% year to date.