LinkedIn was recently accused of sexism when the social recruiting platform pulled several tech job ads that featured women who are too pretty to possibly be computer programmers.
First reported by Daily Dot the team at LinkedIn claimed that complaints were filed over the “woman images” featured in one California tech company’s ads.
Toptal CEO Taso Du Val posted an angry blog post on Friday in which he says a LinkedIn representative claimed that “many LinkedIn members complained about the women images you were using.”
Du Val then wrote:
“We’ve taken extremely professional photos of both men and women who are part of the Toptal network and made sure they looked sharp, well dressed and happy. However, LinkedIn’s internal advertising’s staff completely disagrees that they both look sharp, well dressed and happy. Actually, they believe, with 100% certainty, that the women in our advertisements are offensive and harmful to their user base. To me, this is unbelievable.”
LinkedIn then emailed Du Val and told him to change the pictures if he wanted the ads reinstated.
One of the women “too sexy” to be a programmer was non other than Argentinian Toptal member and engineer Florencia Antara. The female workers picture is shown above.
Here is the actual LinkedIn ad that was pulled from circulation:
LinkedIn Loses The Sexism Battle
On August 3rd Toptal offered the following blog message update:
“LinkedIn has responded stating that after careful consideration and careful review of all ads, landing pages and the nature of our business, they will re-enable all of our ads and we may continue to run all previous ads that were ran prior. This is fantastic news for everyone and we’re thrilled this decision was made.”
The Following day another update was posted:
“We have received a number of inquiries about the other photos posted in this article when it was first released. When the post was first released, we saught examples of the advertisments to display. However, not having access to LinkedIn since our account was banned, we could only pull up results from a PowerPoint presentation dating back to May 2013 (the first month we launched our LinkedIn advertising) and one other screenshot dating back approximately a week ago which was referenced in a Skype conversation. In May, we used mostly stock photography (for both male and female) as we did not have images that were high enough resolution to put on LinkedIn. I used two of the images in this article from that presentation as an example by mistake. They were deleted because they were not relevant to this post after I discovered that, and they were also not the ones to get us banned. As of mid-July we had enough images where we switched nearly all male and female images to real Toptal developers.”
I’m 99 percent positive that it wasn’t other male computer programmers who were complaining about the possibility of working next to sexy programmers.
The Original Takedown Notice Sent By LinkedIn
I regret any confusion experienced.
I reached out to you on July 17 regarding the reason why we had to reject your ads and I’m sorry iof you did not receive my message, which was sent to the primary email address associated with your LinkedIn profile (with domain @xxxxxxx.com).
I contacted you to you to notify that we had to reject the ads on the TopTal business ads account as many LinkedIn members complained about the women images you were using.
As a result, please edit the ads we will reject using different images, related to the product advertised and submit your ads again; we will be more than happy to approve them.
I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your understanding.
Lead Ads Support
Do you think LinkedIn overstepped in its original decision?
Author: James Kosur
James Kosur has worked in the new media space for the last 10 years, helping many publications build their audiences to millions of monthly readers. He currently serves as the Director of Business Development at Business2Community.com and the CEO of Aven Enterprises LLC.