LinkedIn has introduced a new feature for its Canadian users, allowing them to verify their online identities using government identification. This move aims to enhance trust and safety on the platform.
Verification Partnership with Clear
The Microsoft-owned social media platform revealed that its 22 million Canadian members can now opt to verify their profiles by submitting a copy of their government ID to Clear, a third-party company. This verification method, previously available to U.S. users, is designed to strengthen trust and combat identity theft and other fraudulent activities.
Diana Luu, LinkedIn's Canadian country manager and senior director of strategic accounts, commented on the initiative, stating, “It is a huge concern for folks. We know that. We really did want to provide this extra layer of protection against identity theft impersonation, other fraudulent activities.”
Combatting Fake Accounts
Recent data from LinkedIn indicates that the platform restricted 201,000 fake accounts after being flagged by members between July and December 2022. Additionally, 44.7 million fake accounts were halted during registration, and 13.2 million were restricted before any member reports during the same timeframe. Automated technology detected approximately 87.4% of these fake accounts.
How the Verification Process Works
Users wishing to verify their identity on LinkedIn will need to create an account with Clear. This involves taking a selfie, providing an image of a government-issued ID (e.g., driver's license or passport), and consenting to share specific data with LinkedIn. If the provided information matches, LinkedIn will display a green check mark on the user's profile, indicating that their account has been verified using government identification.
Throughout this process, Clear will seek consent to share users' names, addresses, birth dates, document types, and issuers with LinkedIn. Diana Luu emphasized that any data obtained from Clear will remain confidential and won't be visible on LinkedIn profiles. Furthermore, LinkedIn won't share personal information with Clear at any stage of the verification process.
Statements from the Press Release
In the official press release, Diana Luu expressed the platform's commitment to authenticity and security. She mentioned, “As LinkedIn continues to prioritize authenticity and security, these new verification options empower Canadian LinkedIn members to build a trusted professional network, ensuring a safer and more reliable experience for everyone on the platform.”
CLEAR CEO Caryn Seidman Becker also shared her thoughts, saying, “CLEAR and LinkedIn share a vision of trust and safety for our millions of users. We're excited to expand our partnership to Canada to help more people foster genuine connections online. When you verify your identity with CLEAR on LinkedIn, you're more likely to be considered for a job, have your in-mail opened, and build connections – it's that simple.”
Future Implications and Concerns
Neil Desai, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, noted that while such verification methods highlight the increasing value of data quality, they also raise questions about the trade-offs between personal data security and the benefits of the services offered.
The introduction of the Clear program follows a statement from LinkedIn's vice-president of product management, who mentioned in an October blog post the growing prevalence of fraudulent activities online, especially with the rise of AI-generated synthetic images.
Desai further added that AI's efficiency has posed challenges for social media platforms, leading them to constantly combat problematic content. He concluded, “What we're seeing is this reaction to that reality where verification is not just a nice to have, it's fundamental for the long-term success of these platforms.”