LinkedIn is coming out strong against accusations that its been hacking users' email accounts to send promotional spam. "We do not access your email account without your permission," Blake Lawit, senior director of litigation at LinkedIn writes in a new blog post. "Claims that we "hack" or "break into" members’ accounts are false." The statement fights back against a lawsuit alleging that the social network has been breaking into users' email accounts by pretending to be them.
LinkedIn doesn't deny sending emails with permission
The technical workings of how LinkedIn would manage to break into users' email accounts are left unclear in the complaint. Lawit says that LinkedIn never accesses user's accounts without their permission, but he does note that LinkedIn will send out promotional emails when users agree to share their contact lists. The site is fairly aggressive when it comes to these emails too, often wording them in ways that could suggest to recipients who don't use LinkedIn that they already have an account.
Lawit seemingly suggests that the misunderstanding lay in this agreed sharing of contact lists, rather than an account break-in. "We never deceive you by 'pretending to be you' in order to access your email account." He also writes that LinkedIn will try to make its instructions on connecting your contact list as clear as possible, likely to prevent similar accusations. Though sending out promotional emails after users unintentionally share their contact lists may not be as bad as a complete break-in, should this be what's truly happening, it's still not the most user-friendly practice. And as we've seen, sharing contact lists without making the action clear to users isn't something that many take lightly.