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The illicit boundaries business cross never fail to amaze, but LinkedIn has allegedly adopted some shady practices to attract new users to the social networking site. A class action lawsuit filed against the company claims LinkedIn “hacked” into subscriber’s email addresses, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, download their address books to solicit contacts and send spam marketing materials.

The suit claims LinkedIn tricked users into connecting their email accounts upon sign-up and they unknowingly gave the site access to business connections. LinkedIn believes this lawsuit has no merit because it didn’t do anything illegal. However, in a blog post the company responded to these claims saying:

‘We do not access your email account without your permission. Claims that we “hack” or “break into” members’ accounts are false.

‘We never deceive you by “pretending to be you” in order to access your email account.

‘We never send messages or invitations to join LinkedIn on your behalf to anyone unless you have given us permission to do so.’

If you think of all the CEO’s and big wigs that are on LinkedIn and more than likely using their professional email addresses this is definitely a concern.

For many social network users this is a major wake up call about account settings and user agreements. With the abundance of social sites – singing up has become a simple click, but do users really know what they’re getting themselves into? Let’s admit it, most people skip over the User Agreement and click accept without knowing the details. Maybe this is the news we needed to hear as a reminder to be more selective about who we invite into our lives.

LinkedIn also recently dropped the age limit, allowing youngsters age 14+ to sign-up as a helpful  platform for college and career planning. The networking company has more than 238 million members with a mission to obtain even more.

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