Sometimes when browsing LinkedIn, you may notice that a connection’s name is replaced with “LinkedIn member”. This happens for a few different reasons. Here’s an overview of why you might see “LinkedIn member” instead of someone’s name on LinkedIn.
They Changed Their Name
One of the most common reasons you’ll see “LinkedIn member” is because someone has changed their name. When a LinkedIn member updates their name, their connections don’t automatically see the change. Instead, their old name is temporarily replaced with “LinkedIn member” until they re-establish the connection.
This prevents connections from seeing someone’s new name without their consent. It’s a privacy measure to protect those who change their name for personal or professional reasons. Once the connection is re-established, the new name will appear.
They Restricted Their Profile
LinkedIn members can choose to restrict viewing of their full profile. This means only their direct connections can see details like their photo, current position, education, etc. To everyone else, their profile will simply show the “LinkedIn member” placeholder where their name would be.
Members may restrict their profile for increased privacy and security. The “LinkedIn member” label prevents strangers from identifying or contacting them through LinkedIn without a direct connection.
You Don’t Have a Direct Connection
If you view a LinkedIn profile of someone you’re not directly connected to, you’ll see “LinkedIn member” instead of their name. This applies when you:
- View LinkedIn profiles through Google search results
- Access someone’s profile that a connection shared or referenced
- View the profile of a connection within a group or company page
Seeing the “LinkedIn member” label instead of a name reminds you that you don’t have a direct connection established with this person. To see their name and full profile, you’ll need to connect with them first.
They Are Not On Your Contacts List
Within group posts and discussions, you may notice some commenter names show as “LinkedIn member”. This indicates that person is not in your LinkedIn connections list. Group members can choose whether to display their real name or the “LinkedIn member” placeholder to other group members.
This allows people to participate in group conversations without automatically revealing their full identity. If you want to see their real name, you’ll need to send them a connection request.
Their Account Was Flagged
In some cases, LinkedIn may replace a person’s name with “LinkedIn member” if their account gets flagged for violating terms of service. This could happen if an account participates in spam-like activity or harasses other members.
The “LinkedIn member” label acts as a warning to other users that something may be amiss with that account. LinkedIn may also restrict that account’s capabilities until the issue gets resolved.
How to Reveal Their Name
If you see someone labeled as “LinkedIn member” instead of their name, here are some tips to reconnect and reveal their proper name and profile:
- If it’s a former connection, re-establish the connection through LinkedIn. This will prompt them to share their updated name.
- If it’s someone you know offline, send them a LinkedIn connection request.
- If it’s someone you met through a group or online, messaging them first can open the door to connecting.
- You can also ask the person who referred you to their profile to make an introduction.
However, always respect it if someone prefers to keep their name private. Don’t try to reveal their identity if they clearly want to remain anonymous.
Why LinkedIn Uses “Member”
You may wonder why LinkedIn uses the vague label “member” rather than something like “private user”. There are a few reasons for this:
- It relates to LinkedIn’s mission of connecting professionals. Calling someone a “member” reinforces the idea of an interconnected community.
- “Member” sounds more natural and conversational than the more aloof “user” term.
- The word “member” enhances a feeling of exclusivity, since it implies belonging to a selective professional network.
“LinkedIn member” allows the company to obscure identities while still retaining a human, approachable feel. This balances privacy and user experience on the platform.
Is “LinkedIn Member” Bad?
Seeing “LinkedIn member” instead of someone’s real name isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here are some reasons it can be beneficial:
- It enables privacy and security for those wanting to control their online identity.
- It fosters discerning connections based on substance, rather than name recognition alone.
- It encourages getting to know people gradually through groups before linking profiles.
- It reduces unsolicited outreach from strangers.
For recruiters or sales professionals, it also emphasizes focusing on the individual first, not just targeting their company or title. Overall, the “LinkedIn member” placeholder upholds values like privacy, security and quality connections that benefit the entire LinkedIn community.
If you see “LinkedIn member” instead of a name and want to troubleshoot, here are some things to try:
- Confirm you are logged into your LinkedIn account. You can’t see full profiles when logged out.
- Make sure you have a current direct connection established with the person.
- Check that your LinkedIn app and profile are up to date.
- Consider if the member restricted access to their profile after previously connecting.
- Reset the app and clear cookies/cache if display issues persist.
Overall, the “LinkedIn member” placeholder is nothing to worry about. It’s simply LinkedIn’s way of balancing visibility with privacy. With a few troubleshooting tips, you can easily get back to viewing full names and profiles.