Users force LinkedIn to bring back connections download tool used by scrapers

LinkedIn users have rejected a new data export process set up by the company, which would allow them to export their connections’ information with a delay of 24 or, occasionally, even 72 hours.

The new process was meant to be a replacement for the professional social network’s CSV connections download tool, which allowed users, but also information scrapers, to easily download the file containing the information.

“Our goal is to make as much of your data, including connection data, available within minutes. We will keep the CSV connections tool available until we can reach that goal (some other data items will be available in an extended archive that may take longer to process). We will then turn this tool off again, as part of our ongoing anti-scraping efforts,” LinkedIn VP of Product Management Michael Korcuska explained.

“We believe that the data our members enter into LinkedIn is theirs and they should be able to export it. We are also committed to ensuring members have control of what data can be exported by their connections,” he noted, and pointed out that scraping is against the site’s Terms Of Service and could be potentially damaging to users.

For example, the scraped data can be used to create fake profiles of well known users, and to trick other users into creating a connection that would allow attackers to known more about them.

Korcuska also announced that in the coming weeks and months the company will take additional steps to make the scraping of member data by third parties more difficult, but hasn’t elaborated further.

Another change that has been a direct result of customers complaining is that LinkedIn will stop sending so many emails to users.

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