LinkedIn Pays $13 Million to Settle “Add Connections” Lawsuit over Its Spam-Like Emails

LBN’s Emily Collins reports that LinkedIn has agreed to pay $13 million to settle a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was prompted by LinkedIn’s use of its “add connections” feature. The point of the feature was to allow LinkedIn to enlarge its membership by getting existing members to invite their contacts to join LinkedIn.

The feature was activated by pressing the “Add Connections” link on a drop-down menu link on a member’s LinkedIn home page. The feature allowed LinkedIn to access a member’s contacts, including email addresses. LinkedIn would then send out an email invitation to those contacts to join LinkedIn. If someone didn’t respond, LinkedIn would send up to two reminder emails that an invitation was waiting.

In 2013, Paul Perkins and other LinkedIn users filed Perkins v. LinkedIn Corporation in California’s U.S. District Court for the Northern District. The complaint alleged that “LinkedIn provides no functional way to stop multiple subsequent advertising emails from being sent.” Translation: LinkedIn is spamming our friends. The petitioners said that LinkedIn’s actions were damaging their professional reputations.

LinkedIn tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, but District Judge Lucy Koh let most of the claims go forward. LinkedIn maintains that it did nothing wrong, but made this concession: “Because the Court also suggested that we could be more clear about the fact that we send reminder emails about pending invitations from LinkedIn members, we have made changes to our product and Privacy Policy.”

Apparently, LinkedIn will make it easier for its members to opt out of the “add connections” feature. The class action settlement provides for the payment of claims to individuals who have used the “add connections” feature and wish to make a claim against LinkedIn should visit this special website to pursue their claims. How much any one person can collect will depend on how many people make claims.

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