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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Question regarding LinkedIn. I hope this category of Networking

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Question regarding LinkedIn. I hope this category of Networking is the right one...

Eventually I would like to build a website for my writing and research services. I know it is very important to be on LinkedIn.

I just read their User Agreement and it indicates the following under "Dos and Don'ts":

"Don’t undertake the following: Upload, post, email, InMail, transmit or otherwise make available or initiate any content that:

Falsely states, impersonates or otherwise misrepresents your identity, including but not limited to the use of a pseudonym, or misrepresenting your current or previous positions and qualifications, or your affiliations with a person or entity, past or present..."

It is very common for writers to use pen names. If a person has very different and unrelated types of businesses they want to display online (i.e., writer, real estate agent, piano teacher, gardener) it is not unusual to have different names and web addresses for each.

Can anyone explain LinkedIn policy and how to use a pen name? Please advise.

Your question was moved to the Legal Category, because it is, in fact, a question of contract law.

The terms and conditions that you quote from Linkedin expressly prohibits the use of a "pseudonym." The term reasonably includes a "nom de plume" used by an author.

However, the remaining quoted terms also expressly state that the purpose of the prohibition is to prevent uses that "Falsely states, impersonates or otherwise misrepresents your identity." Thus, if an alias name does not misrepresent your identity, it may be used.

For example, if you legal name is "Alicia Augello Cook," it would not be a misrepresentation to use your "stage name" of "Alicia Keys," if you are marketing yourself as an entertainer -- because everyone in the Western Hemisphere knows who you are.

But, if your real name is "Casey Anthony," and you are trying to avoid being found on the LinkedIn website, then representing yourself as Carrie Andrews would be a violation of the website policy.

The point is that "intent" is everything. The goal is to market yourself authentically -- not to avoid recognition.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Your answer is helpful. I am a writer, and I won a national award under my pen name. This is one reason why I don't want to use my real name. I want to mention on LinkedIn that I won the award, but it would seem odd to have myself listed with my real name as the winner. I am a private person and simply do not want the source of my identity known in my writings or my work. I don't even use my real name on Just Answer. I am trying to remain private, and with all the internet privacy issues and infringements going on, I don't think that is unreasonable. I was victimized in the past by e-mail spoofing, and spyware. I don't like it.


But in no way am I trying to hide my identity legally. Any business dealings and invoices would be billed via PayPal, which always is processed under my real name. So, if I want to use my pen name on LinkedIn for professional purposes and still use my real name for but only billing clients, is that ok?


Thanks again! I will rate after your reply.


Best regards,


In my opinion, your contemplated activity does not violate the Linkedin terms of service. However, I am not the vendor, and it has absolute authority to interpret its own terms and conditions.

The point is that the only means by which you can avoid having your account terminated for a violation of the terms of service is: (1) obtain preapproval from Linkedin; or (2) don't get caught.


For customer service purposes, please let me know if my answer is helpful.

Thanks in advance.

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