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LinkedIn bot battle wipes 50% of Apple employee accounts

Many bot accounts claimed to work for Apple

The number of LinkedIn accounts that claim to be Apple employees was cut in half overnight thanks to a renewed effort to kick bots from the platform.

Fraudulent activity had been ticking up on LinkedIn with fake accounts claiming to belong to organizations they did not belong to. These accounts would use fake or altered photos and profile descriptions lifted from legitimate employees.

The fake account and bot problem are so pervasive, a report from Krebs on Security shows major corporations claimed employee count cut significantly in October. For example, Apple went from 576,562 LinkedIn accounts to 284,991 in just a single day.

A developer named Jay Pinho noticed the dramatic change in employee numbers while creating a product that would be used by organizations to track company data. Amazon saw a similar employee number decline from 1.2 million to 838,601 in the same overnight.

The rapid decline in accounts was attributed to bot deletion. Although, LinkedIn didn't respond to questions beyond a statement saying it was constantly working to keep the platform free of fake accounts.

Apple's LinkedIn profile shows 281,213 active employee accounts at publication. Apple's website describing diversity initiatives has a lower non-specific figure sourced from 2021 — "more than 165, 000 talented employees."