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-> Published On: 16-11-2023
Is it Legal to Scrape LinkedIn?
Updated · Nov 20, 2023
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Over 30% of professionals are on LinkedIn, making the platform a massive data repository for networking, marketing, and other purposes. This is why businesses and individuals scrape the employment website. However, is it legal to scrape LinkedIn?
The answer is “no.” Unauthorized scraping is illegal in LinkedIn because it violates the site’s User Agreement. Scrapers caught in the act can face account banning or legal action.
Continue reading to find out more about the legality of LinkedIn scraping.
🔑 Key Takeaways
The Legality of LinkedIn Scraping
LinkedIn Scraping is an automated process of extracting data from LinkedIn pages or profiles for market research and recruitment.
In general, LinkedIn deems it illegal to scrape without permission. Unauthorized scraping violates the LinkedIn User Agreement that says:
“You agree that you will not:
[...] Develop, support, or use software, devices, scripts, robots, or any other means or processes (including crawlers, browser plugins, and add-ons or any other technology) to scrape the Services or otherwise copy profiles and other data from the Services.”
Besides LinkedIn, some countries themselves have regulations on unauthorized scraping. For instance, Europe implements the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect the personal data of web users.
Legality is a crucial factor when scraping platforms besides LinkedIn. Always check the website terms before scraping to avoid facing legal consequences.
Top Lawsuits on LinkedIn vs. Web Scraping
Companies have gotten into legal cases with LinkedIn for web scraping because of how they did it. Here are some of the most popular LinkedIn web scraping lawsuits:
LinkedIn vs. hiQ Legal Showdown
The hiQ vs. LinkedIn case was a legal dispute between LinkedIn and the data analytics company hiQ. The complaint came from LinkedIn after hiQ scraped public profiles on the platform.
LinkedIn said scraping was against their rules and terms. However, hiQ argues that they are simply scraping to measure their staff’s "flight" probability.
The case that started in 2017 went through different stages and courts. In 2022, the Ninth Circuit ruled that hiQ can continue to scrape public data on the networking site.
LinkedIn wanted the higher court to review the case. However, the higher court declined, so the Ninth Circuit decision prevailed.
Things turned in November of 2022 when the Ninth Circuit changed its decision. The court said that hiQ breached LinkedIn’s user agreement. This decision led to a settlement between both parties, ending the dispute.
ZwillGen shared the news to Twitter after the court sided with LinkedIn against hiQ Labs:
LinkedIn vs. Mantheos
LinkedIn took legal steps against a company in Singapore called Mantheos in 2022. The case started when Mantheos used fake accounts and debit cards to access LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator feature.
Mantheos scraped over a million LinkedIn profiles without permission. This illegal activity caused LinkedIn to take Mantheos to court and block fake accounts.
Afterward, LinkedIn stopped Mantheo's special subscriptions. LinkedIn also started using deep learning to find illegal activities on the platform.
Use Cases of LinkedIn Scraping
LinkedIn holds valuable data, so scraping it will always have legal issues. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that businesses can benefit from scraping the platform. Some everyday use cases of LinkedIn scraping are:
Recruiting and Hiring
LinkedIn scraping is commonly used for recruitment and employment. With LinkedIn data, companies can find and examine prospective job applicants. Recruiters can also use the data to gauge the skills of their potential candidates.
Researchers also scrape LinkedIn data as a basis for analyzing business patterns. The data helps them find competitors and understand market trends.
LinkedIn data is a helpful basis for prospecting tasks. Users concerned with sales and marketing can scrape LinkedIn to collect contact details. They also find potential clients, investors, and business partners through LinkedIn scraping.
People can use LinkedIn scraping to expand professional connections. They can use scraped data to get valuable information about a specific industry.
✅ Pro Tip
If you're trying to extract location-based data, use a proxy server. Bright Data's Scraping Browser has geo-targeting proxies that help in dealing with specific demographics and regional preferences.
Practical Tips to Scrape LinkedIn Legally and Ethically
Before collecting data from LinkedIn, be responsible to avoid facing legal problems. Here are useful tips to remember to scrape LinkedIn legally and ethically:
Ask LinkedIn for Permission
Acquire permission from LinkedIn when you want to scrape. Secure their approval before collecting any information.
Only Scrape Publicly Available Data
Only collect publicly available information on LinkedIn pages. Stick to the information everyone can see.
Avoid Scraping Sensitive Data
Do not collect passwords, SSNs, or any Personally Identifiable Information when scraping LinkedIn.
Limit Your Scraping
Sending too many requests can overload LinkedIn servers. You can be banned for breaking site rules on data collection speed.
Limit the data you plan to scrape daily. A good rule of thumb is to scrape only 40 LinkedIn profiles every 24 hours.
LinkedIn's regulations and limitations on scraping are complex for most users. To better understand, Apify discussed the entire legality of LinkedIn scraping. The discussion below includes the limits on scraping data from the platform:
LinkedIn scraping provides helpful information, but it comes with legal challenges. While scraping is generally allowed on the platform, there are rules that everyone must abide by.
Always ask for permission, protect private details, and keep data accurate. Practice a fair approach that benefits everyone and follows ethical standards.
Can I buy data from LinkedIn?
Yes, you can buy smaller and customized sets of data from LinkedIn. These smaller sets will help you get the necessary information and save money.
Does LinkedIn ban you for scraping?
Yes, LinkedIn can ban you if you scrape without permission. They may deny your access or take legal action.
What is not allowed on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn does not allow unauthorized scraping. It also prohibits creating fake profiles, posting inappropriate things, and spamming. These things can get your account banned or restricted.
Your email address will not be published.