When you send a message on LinkedIn, by default only you and the recipient can view the contents of that message. Your messages are private between you and the other person. However, there are some exceptions and scenarios where others may potentially see your messages.
As the platform provider, LinkedIn can access and view all messages sent through their system. This allows them to moderate activity, enforce their user agreement and policies, provide customer support, and improve their services. While LinkedIn doesn’t routinely review private messages, they reserve the right to do so if deemed necessary.
Recipients can forward messages
Although you sent a message privately to one person, they have the ability to forward your message to others if they want. For example, they may forward your message to colleagues relevant to the discussion. So even though you only sent it directly to the one recipient, once forwarded by them, the message content can end up being seen by others. There is no way to prevent the recipient from forwarding a message if they choose to.
Some messages are automatically visible to others
In some cases on LinkedIn, your messages can automatically be seen by people other than just the recipient:
- Group messages – If you post a message in a LinkedIn Group, it will be visible to all members of that group.
- Company Page messages – If you message a Company Page, any administrators of that Page will be able to see the message.
- “InMail” messages – If you use LinkedIn’s InMail messaging feature to message someone you’re not connected to, that message will indicate to the recipient that you want to connect. Other users cannot see the content of the InMail though.
People with account access
If you provide access to your LinkedIn account to others, such as colleagues you share credentials with or LinkedIn sales solutions partners, then those individuals would have the ability to sign-in as you and view your messages. So be cautious sharing your login access.
Official legal requests
LinkedIn may provide the content of your private messages to law enforcement agencies, government authorities, or third parties if compelled to by an official legal request like a subpoena, court order, or search warrant. Typically this only occurs during formal investigations or legal proceedings though.
Malware and unauthorized access
As with any online account, there is always the possibility of unauthorized access through hacking, malware, or social engineering. For example, if your computer was infected with a virus that logs your LinkedIn username and password, cyber criminals could potentially access and view your private messages by signing into your account. However, this type of unauthorized access is illegal. You should utilize sound security practices like strong passwords and anti-virus software to minimize risk.
Message preview texts
On LinkedIn’s mobile apps, when receiving a new message, a short preview text of the message may be displayed on your notifications screen, which others could potentially access if you left your phone unattended and unlocked. The full message content though would still only be visible once opening the LinkedIn app. On LinkedIn’s desktop site, message notifications do not display preview texts.
LinkedIn support staff
LinkedIn’s own customer support staff and engineers may access and view your messages when handling support tickets and investigating issues. Typically this access is only temporary though, and they are required to keep your information confidential.
Third-party apps or integrations
If you authorize a third-party application to connect with your LinkedIn account, depending on the permission scopes granted, the app may be able to access and view details about your LinkedIn messages. Be selective when connecting apps to your LinkedIn account and only use reputable services.
Analytics and usage data
While protecting the specific content of your private messages, LinkedIn may track and analyze aggregated usage data, statistics, trends, and information about the LinkedIn messaging feature and ecosystem. However your individual messages would remain private.
Profile data made public by user
If you add any content from private messages to your public LinkedIn profile fields like Summary, Experience, Education, etc., then that publicly visible profile data would obviously be viewable by anyone. This does not grant access to the private messages themselves though.
The key exception is that any direct recipients of your messages will be able to see the message content you sent them. There is no way to make a message private from the intended recipients. So be judicious when messaging connections on LinkedIn.
- By default, LinkedIn messages are only visible to the sender and recipient.
- However, recipients can forward messages to others if they want.
- Group messages, Company Page messages, and InMails may be automatically visible to certain parties.
- Authorized account access, legal requests, and unauthorized access can also potentially expose messages.
- The recipient always has access to messages you send them directly.
- Be thoughtful, professional, and careful when messaging connections on LinkedIn.