LinkedIn Are LinkedIn Messages Private? Everything you should know about your messaging privacy.
Jules Maregiano Mar 20, 2023

Are messages on LinkedIn private? This is an important question to consider, as it can have major implications for your business. 
Since LinkedIn is both a professional and a social platform, it's important to know whether your messages are completely private or if they can be accessed by others within or outside of your organization.
The quick answer is YES, your LinkedIn direct messages are private:
  • Only you and the recipient(s) can read them
  • Your company cannot request to read them
  • LinkedIn will not provide access to your account or messages to your boss
However, you may be wondering whether the police or LinkedIn developers can access your messages, or if anyone else can do so legally or technically. We have investigated this topic for you, and will provide more information on this matter.

Can my employer see my linkedin messages?

The answer to this question scared me… at first: A 2016 judgement by a European court ruled in favor of a European company in the case of an employee using company equipment to send private messages to members of their family.
Thank God, the judgement was overruled in 2017 and the answer is now: NO, your employers can not read your LinkedIn, or any, private messages. Employers are not allowed to monitor your personal messages, which would include any messages sent or received through LinkedIn.
In the US, it’s the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) that protects your private conversations and messages. This act prohibits employers from accessing private communications without the consent of the user. The European equivalent to the ECPA is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
If you are nor from Europe or the US, please reach out to our support and we’ll be happy to check for you with our legal team.

Can law enforcement request your LinkedIn private messages?

LinkedIn is a US-based company that is legally obligated to provide data if requested by law enforcement agents. This obligation applies both in the US and globally. However, the process for a US government agent to request data is very strict and requires adherence to specific procedures, such as subpoenas, court orders, and warrants.
We’re reaching the limits of my ability to detail the matter here since I have no legal background. But if you are concerned about the privacy of your data on LinkedIn, I recommend you read LinkedIn's Government Requests Transparency Report. This report details how LinkedIn responds to government requests for data, including the number of requests received and granted, by whom, and how this has evolved over time. Believe it or not, I found it makes for a quite interesting read!

Different levels of message privacy on LinkedIn

Let's define privacy for a moment. For the sake of simplicity, I'll define four levels of privacy. I apologize in advance to experts who might have subdivided some of these levels.
  1. Public: Anyone with a computer connected to the Internet can access the data.
  2. Restricted: Only users with an account can access the data.
  3. Private: You alone can access the data, but the data is unencrypted, making it accessible to developers with legal access to the database, and hackers.
  4. Encrypted: Only you can access the data. If developers or hackers were to access your messages, they would only be able to see the encrypted version of them.
In the case of LinkedIn messages and whether they are private or not, LinkedIn is currently at level 3 on the above scale of privacy: No one can access your messages, but if a developer working for LinkedIn (or a hacker) with the access to the database decided to target YOU in particular, and go and look at your inbox, they technically could.
Data breaches and leaks, unfortunately, happen all the time. LinkedIn is no exception to the rule, and therefore, if you have to communicate very sensitive information to someone on LinkedIn, using fully end-to-end encrypted messaging services such as Telegram or Signal.

Are all types of LinkedIn messages private?

We’re talking about LinkedIn messaging, but we did not define what messages refers to. They are 3 types of messages on LinkedIn:
Direct Messages
These are the mesages that you receive when chatting with one of your connections. From the connection request message, to the most simple message you send in your LinkedIn inbox.
Premium messages
  • Inmails. These are special messages with increased authorization, like the ability to be sent to people you’re not connected to. Every LinkedIn user can receive an InMail, but only paid plans can send them.
  • Open inbox. LinkedIn Sales Navigator customers have the possibility to make their inbox public. That doesn’t mean people can see their messages, thanks God, but that anyone can send them messages, even if not connected.
Sponsored messages
LinkedIn sponsored messages are sent from real accounts of real people. I checked multiple examples, and the senders had sometimes changed job, and could reached out to like any other LinkedIn member. But LinkedIn sponsored messages are not “real” in the sense that they are automated marketing messages, and can only be answered like a chatbot, which doesn’t qualify as “real” if you ask me.
Cheeky side-note: It's funny to think that LinkedIn sends bot automated messages, when they are against automated messaging themselves 😉


It's interesting to see how a seemingly simple question like "Are my LinkedIn messages private?" leads to a nuanced answer: Yes, but...
Yes, your messages are private. In 99.99999% of cases, only you and your recipient will see them. Your employers have no legal right to snoop in on your LinkedIn conversations, and the likelihood of a LinkedIn employee specifically targeting you and reading your private conversations is low.
But, if you're Edward Snowden, Bernie Madoff, or Hillary Clinton and share extremely sensitive information that could be of interest to respectively the CIA, the police, or hackers, it's best to use an end-to-end encrypted messaging service like Signal or Telegram.
If you have any new information on the topic, such as changes in the law, feel free to share them with us (and your sources), and we'll gladly update this article.

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