The short answer is that LinkedIn does not allow users to delete messages once they have been sent, in order to maintain the integrity and transparency of conversations on the platform. However, there are some steps you can take if you have sent a message you regret.
LinkedIn’s messaging policy
LinkedIn’s messaging system is designed to emulate real-world business communication. Just like you can’t take back something you’ve said in person or recall an email after sending it, you can’t delete messages you’ve already sent to your LinkedIn connections.
Allowing message deletion would undermine the authenticity of conversations on the platform. LinkedIn wants to maintain transparency and promote accountability in all communication between members.
In addition, as a professional networking site, LinkedIn needs to keep appropriate records of conversations in case issues arise that require investigation. Deleting messages would make it difficult to look back on past communications if needed.
You can hide conversations from your inbox
If you want to remove a conversation from your inbox view because it’s distracting or uncomfortable to look at, you can archive it so it’s no longer visible in your messages list. Here’s how:
- Click on the conversation you want to archive.
- Look for the three-dot menu in the top right corner and click it.
- Select “Archive conversation.”
This will remove the message thread from your inbox without deleting it. You can still find and view archived conversations under the “Archived” folder.
You can report inappropriate messages
If a message you received violates LinkedIn’s professional community policies, you can and should report it. Examples of inappropriate messages include:
- Abusive, harassing, or threatening language
- Unsolicited commercial messages or spam
- False or misleading information
- Offensive, obscene, or vulgar content
To report a concerning message:
- Click the three-dot menu in the message and select “Report.”
- Choose the option that best describes why you’re reporting the message.
- Add any details to help LinkedIn understand and investigate.
- Click submit.
LinkedIn will review reported messages and take appropriate action according to their policies. Reporting gives them visibility into issues on the platform.
You can apologize or give context
If you regret sending a message that came across badly or incorrectly, there are a few options:
- Send a follow-up message apologizing, clarifying your intent, or adding helpful context.
- Edit the original message if you notice a typo or error immediately after sending.
- Unsend invitation messages if you change your mind right after inviting someone to connect or join your network.
While you can’t delete the message itself, a bit of extra communication and care can go a long way in smoothing over misunderstandings or unintended offense.
Adjust your messaging habits going forward
To avoid sending messages you end up regretting, keep these tips in mind:
- Double check who you’re messaging before hitting send.
- Reread messages to check your tone sounds professional and appropriate.
- Avoid writing emotional messages when feeling heightened negative emotions.
- Stick to topics and language suitable for a business networking context.
- Ask yourself if you’d be comfortable with your manager or colleagues reading the message.
Slow down and exercising caution when messaging can prevent embarrassing errors or communication mishaps.
Why LinkedIn is unlikely to add a message deletion feature
Some users have requested the ability to delete sent messages, but LinkedIn has held off adding this capability for a few key reasons:
- Data integrity – Deleting messages would compromise record-keeping and transparency.
- Compliance – Financial regulations require archiving communications sent on professional platforms.
- Prevention of harassment – Deleting messages could enable abuse or threatening behavior.
- Authenticity – Allowing message editing undermines the authenticity of conversations.
LinkedIn is committed to maintaining a professional community. They believe keeping all messages intact promotes accountability, integrity, and trust.
That said, LinkedIn does occasionally test new features with small groups of users. There’s an outside chance of message recall or editing capabilities being trialed in the future. But a full platform-wide rollout seems unlikely given the downsides.
Focus on your connections
Rather than worrying about deleting old messages, shift your energy towards nurturing your LinkedIn connections. Here are some ideas:
- Congratulate connections on work anniversaries and new jobs.
- Share interesting articles and resources relevant to their interests.
- Comment thoughtful praise and feedback on their posts.
- Follow up if you meet contacts at events or industry functions.
- Wish them well on holidays or major life events.
Building relationships through regular, positive communication brings much greater benefit than fretting over old messages. The conversations you have today are what matters most.