LinkedIn Accused of Secretly Selling Users' Information

| by Michael Allen

The social media site LinkedIn was recently hit with a class-action lawsuit in Northern California.

LinkedIn is accused of selling employment information of its users to possible employers without getting consent from users.

The controversy is swirling around LinkedIn's job reference tool, a premium feature which can be used by companies who pay for access, noted

The job reference tool can provide names, locations, co-workers and employment histories of LinkedIn members.

The lawsuit claims that LinkedIn users are not told when a potential employer runs this online reference report.

The lawsuit contends that LinkedIn is a consumer reporting agency and is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which says a person must be notified when a consumer report is used for checking employment, insurance, or credit.

The lawsuit also claims that LinkedIn markets its job reference tool as a way to “get the real story on any candidate” and “find references who can give real, honest feedback."

According to, the lawsuit states that the job reference tool allows anyone to "anonymously dig into the employment history of any LinkedIn member and make hiring and firing decisions based upon the information they gather, without the knowledge of the member and without safeguards in place as to the accuracy of the information that the potential employer has obtained."