There's been a lot of anger recently concerning LinkedIn's shabby treatment of its user community. First, a Russian hacker was able to steal approximately six-and-a-half million user passwords from LinkedIn's servers, and proudly posted them online. Then it came out that LinkedIn had neglected to tell everyone that its iPhone/iPad app was copying users' private calendar info to LinkedIn servers -- which was as flagrant a privacy breach as the hacking incident, not to mention a violation of Apple's privacy guidelines for apps.
LinkedIn spent a good deal of effort cleaning up the messes and issuing insincere apologies. However, the whole thing had me wondering why LinkedIn didn't spend as much effort in the first place protecting user passwords and being respectful of users' privacy.
The answer? LinkedIn does not care about your data security and privacy. This company is arrogant enough to think that you need LinkedIn more than it needs to guard your personal information. It's the 800-pound gorilla of business networking -- for now.
But remember when Microsoft was an 800-pound gorilla and its attitude was if-you-don't like-Windows-then-too-bad? After a certain point, users finally got so fed up they started migrating in droves to Linux and Apple. And then smartphones started bypassing Windows completely.
It's not hard to imagine that the same fate will befall LinkedIn. As with Microsoft, people will one day get tired of being treated with contempt by an organization glorying in its own self-importance. The masses will once again desert in droves and LinkedIn will get its well-deserved comeuppance.
Follow Mark W. Schleisner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markschlei