Microsoft is moving users to LinkedIn Learning and not everyone is happy

Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016, a year after LinkedIn bought the e-learning portal. This year 2019, Microsoft is moving all customers to LinkedIn Learning, a change it plans to complete before the 2019 calendar ends.

As students and faculty return to school, many are now finding that their colleges, universities, and libraries are taking this step. But not everyone is on board. Specifically, some libraries are angry with a new requirement for library patrons to create a LinkedIn profile to access the LinkedIn Learning / service.

“We are currently upgrading all customers to LinkedIn Learning and expect this to be completed for all organizations, including businesses, libraries, colleges and universities, by the end of 2019,” a LinkedIn spokesperson told me this week.

However, creating a LinkedIn account to access LinkedIn Learning is a requirement for libraries, but not for businesses or schools. For these other groups, it is optional.

“A LinkedIn account is required to access LinkedIn Learning. Profiles help us authenticate that users are real people and ensure that we provide a safe and reliable environment for our members to interact with others and learn. A LinkedIn profile is optional for our business and higher education clients as they offer authentication solutions that are very difficult to compromise, ”the LinkedIn spokesperson said when I asked for clarification.

The American Library Association said earlier this summer that it believed the requirement for a LinkedIn profile “would significantly infringe the privacy rights of library users.” Library users were able to log into using a library card and PIN with no further personal information required.

Microsoft isn’t backing down, because this June LinkedIn Learning blog post, titled “Our commitment to libraries” made clear.

To create a LinkedIn profile to access LinkedIn Learning / Lynda content, “the only action required is to add a first name, last name and email address,” the aforementioned spokesperson noted. “Each user has the possibility to control his profile and can modify his Privacy settings. They can also choose not to have their profile searched on search engines. Any user, including users, can change their settings at any time on their Settings and Privacy page.

In addition to citing authentication reasons for the LinkedIn profile requirement, Microsoft also offers creating a LinkedIn profile as a way to get more organized and personalized content. Microsoft also sees LinkedIn Learning as a way to potentially sell users LinkedIn Premium Career features, such as InMail, access to who viewed their profiles, and “competitive information about other candidates,” such as this document Frequently Asked Questions About Migrating From To LinkedIn Learning indicated.

While there has been some criticism of how easily people can create fake LinkedIn profiles (see this How-To-Geek story from May 30 for example), Microsoft is working to eliminate fake profiles, as officials noted earlier this week. In a post on the official LinkedIn blog, Microsoft executives said they were using human scrutiny and artificial intelligence to try to protect the site. Officials said they have “Taken action” on 21.6 million fake accounts between January and June of this year, with the “vast majority” (95%) arrested even before being published on LinkedIn.

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