“This means that not only direct e-mail contacts, but peripherals as well,” were used, she said.
“I contacted LinkedIn and they said, ‘Oh, you can remove all those invitations from your account manually. We don’t know what happened,’” she added.
Instead, she said she added a disclaimer to her LinkedIn page saying she had not sent the invitations.
Jeffrey Barr of Livingston, New Jersey, said in an e-mail that he estimated LinkedIn used as many as 200 names and e-mail addresses of his contacts, inviting them to connect with him on the site.
“Some of the people I had not talked to in five to 10 years, including several old girlfriends I had forgotten to delete,” he said.
LinkedIn told him he had not unchecked a default setting allowing it to use the e-mails, he said.
According the complaint, it was part of LinkedIn’s growth initiative also to send multiple e-mails endorsing its products, services, and brand to potential new users, following up with additional messages to people who did not sign on.
The existing users have no way to stop the process, the plaintiffs said.
“These ‘endorsement e-mails’ are sent to e-mail addresses taken from LinkedIn users’ external e-mail accounts, including the addresses of spouses, clients, opposing counsel, etc,” according to the complaint.