For whatever reason, the majority of the phony LinkedIn profiles reviewed by this author have involved young women with profile photos that appear to be generated by artificial intelligence (AI) tools.
We’re seeing rapid advances in AI-based synthetic image generation technology and we’ve created a deep learning model to better catch profiles made with this technology. AI-based image generators can create an unlimited number of unique, high-quality profile photos that do not correspond to real people. Fake accounts sometimes use these convincing, AI-generated profile photos to make their fake LinkedIn profile appear more authentic.
On October 10, 2022, there were 576,562 LinkedIn accounts that listed their current employer as Apple Inc. The next day, half of those profiles no longer existed. A similarly dramatic drop in the number of LinkedIn profiles claiming employment at Amazon comes as LinkedIn is struggling to combat a significant uptick in the creation of fake employee accounts that pair AI-generated profile photos with text lifted from legitimate users.
A recent proliferation of phony executive profiles on LinkedIn is creating something of an identity crisis for the business networking site, and for companies that rely on it to hire and screen prospective employees. The fabricated LinkedIn identities — which pair AI-generated profile photos with text lifted from legitimate accounts — are creating major headaches for corporate HR departments and for those managing invite-only LinkedIn groups.
Someone has recently created a large number of fake LinkedIn profiles for Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles at some of the world’s largest corporations. It’s not clear who’s behind this network of fake CISOs or what their intentions may be. But the fabricated LinkedIn identities are confusing search engine results for CISO roles at major companies, and they are being indexed as gospel by various downstream data-scraping sources.