The largest online professional networking platform LinkedIn is facing backlash as women speak out about receiving unwanted and inappropriate attention from men on their profiles.
Last week, events sales manager, Nadia Owen received a message from a man who told her she has “the most interesting pair of eyes.”
“Save it for Tinder, mate,” Owen replied. “Why should a man’s opinion on my eyes — or any other body part — be of value?”
The man responded: “They seem to tell me that there’s more to this woman that I might think I know at first sight.”
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
Owen published the conversation on her LinkedIn page, adding: “I shouldn’t have to worry about him feeling uncomfortable when this conflict has already made me feel uncomfortable.”
“I can’t tell you how many times I get messages like this — unwarranted, unprofessional and disrespectful to both myself and the business networking platform we are on,” Owen added.
The article, which has received more than 45,000 views, drew hundreds of comments on her page, with several other women recounting their own experiences of receiving unsolicited come-ons and inappropriate messages.
One woman shared an exchange with a man who said she “must have personal issues” after she called him out for beginning a message with: “Hi lovely xxx.”
The man then went on to call the woman “a darl”, a “dill” and a “disgrace”.
Another woman explained that it’s “not just a small group of men that hide behind their computers, mobile phones, cars … that carry out this inappropriate and nauseating behaviour”.
“If we (women) had to name and shame each one, it would be a never-ending onslaught. I hope that the real, respectful and decent men out there start holding their shadow-men friends accountable rather than promoting and accepting this sleazy behaviour.”
Owen told The Australian she hadn’t expected her post to go viral, but was glad that it was exposing the issue.
“It’s not the first time and it probably won’t be the last,” she said.
“If you don’t pull it up early on, these people will think it’s acceptable. Really, the only time it (being hit on) should be something you anticipate is when you are on a dating app.”
A spokesperson from LinkedIn said the platform would try to maintain a safe, professional and respectful community.
“We do not tolerate any form of harassment and have introduced new tools in this space to keep our members safe,” they said in a statement.
“That includes strengthening our community policies to be even clearer on our position on harassment and romantic advances on LinkedIn.”
The company reiterated the need for its users to keep conversations professional and introduced a more transparent reporting process.
“We encourage all members to let us know if something doesn’t feel right and we will quickly investigate and take action to enforce our policies,” the spokesperson wrote.
“Our teams use a combination of technical measures, human review and reports from our members to uncover any harassment.”
This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.