Have you recently noticed that you can no longer view LinkedIn profiles that used to be accessible? LinkedIn has tightened up privacy and visibility settings over the years, so you may encounter more restricted profiles now versus the past.
However, there are several possible reasons why you can’t see a LinkedIn profile that was viewable before.
LinkedIn Privacy Settings Changed
One of the most common reasons you may not be able to see a LinkedIn profile anymore is because that member updated their privacy settings.
LinkedIn gives users fine-grained control over their profiles, so someone may have changed their visibility settings to be more restrictive.
Profile Visibility Options
LinkedIn members can control who can view their full profile and individual sections like work experience, education, skills, etc. Here are the different profile visibility options on LinkedIn:
- Public: Everyone on or off LinkedIn can view your full profile. This is the most open setting.
- Connections only: Only your 1st-level LinkedIn connections can view your full profile.
- Connections of connections: Your 1st-level connections and your 2nd-level connections can view your full profile. This excludes anyone further than 2nd-level from you.
In addition to controlling full profile visibility, members can also set who can see individual profile sections. For example, you could make your education visible to the public but restrict your work experience to only connections.
Change in Default Settings
Up until a few years ago, LinkedIn profiles defaulted to being public for all members. But LinkedIn has since changed that default setting to be “Connections only” for increased privacy.
So if a member hasn’t updated their profile visibility since this switch, you may no longer be able to view it as a non-connection. Many members stick with the default settings, so this change can impact profile visibility.
How to Tell If Someone Changed Settings
If you could view a profile before but now get a message that the profile is private or restricted, that member definitely updated their settings to be more private at some point.
The message will usually clarify that only the member’s connections can now see their full profile. This confirms the member modified their privacy configuration to limit exposure.
Profile Removed from LinkedIn
Another possibility if a LinkedIn profile disappears is that the member removed their account entirely. LinkedIn makes it easy to delete your account right within settings.
Some reasons members may decide to remove their LinkedIn account include:
- No longer active or looking for jobs on LinkedIn
- Concerns over privacy and data sharing
- Unhappy with LinkedIn’s policies or management
- Prefer using other professional social networks instead
If someone deletes their LinkedIn account, their profile will seem to vanish without a trace. There will be no message or indicator that the account was removed. It will just appear that the person was never on LinkedIn to begin with.
The only way to really tell is if you specifically remember them having a profile that now comes up empty when searching for their name. Otherwise, it can be impossible to distinguish a deleted account from someone who was simply never on LinkedIn.
Banned or Suspended Account
In some cases, LinkedIn members have their accounts banned or suspended due to violations of LinkedIn’s User Agreement. This results in the profile being completely inaccessible.
Some examples of actions that can lead to a banned account include:
- Abusive behavior towards other members
- Impersonating other user accounts
- Spreading misinformation or spam
- Scraping data or violating privacy
- Violating LinkedIn’s guidelines for appropriate conduct
If an account gets banned or suspended by LinkedIn, the public profile will just appear empty or non-existent. There will be no notice that the account was blocked. Only the owner would receive communication from LinkedIn on a banned account.
So if someone you know had a profile but it’s now gone, account termination may be the reason behind it. But there would be no way to confirm a ban unless LinkedIn or the user disclosed it.
Limits for Unpaid LinkedIn Accounts
Non-premium LinkedIn members have search limits that may affect your ability to view some profiles. Here are some of the restrictions on unpaid accounts:
Profile Search Limits
- Can only view up to 100 profiles through search every month
- After 100 profiles, subsequent searches count against monthly search quota
- Only get complete profile information within search limits
Advanced Search Limitations
- Basic filters only – title, location, company
- No access to advanced search filters like skills, interests, schools
- Narrow options for searching connections vs non-connections
No InMail or Contacting Capabilities
- Unable to contact people directly that you are not connected to
- InMail and contacting requires Premium account
Due to these limits, you may not always be able to access full profiles through searching if you are on an unpaid LinkedIn account. Upgrading to premium provides unlimited profile views and advanced search capability.
LinkedIn Premium Account Required
For some profiles, LinkedIn may require you to have a Premium account just to view the basic profile information. This tends to happen with very senior executives, public figures, or influential members that attract a lot of attention.
By requiring a Premium account, LinkedIn reduces spam and unwanted communication that these members may receive through the basic free version. This provides an added layer of protection around high-profile profiles.
When trying to view a profile that needs a Premium account, you’ll get a message indicating only Premium members can see the full profile. If you only have a free account, you’d need to upgrade to access those profiles marked as Premium only.
Profile Restricted by Company
Some organizations restrict the public visibility of employee profiles on LinkedIn as part of corporate policy. This most often applies to security and confidentiality reasons around customer data.
For example, banks may limit profile visibility for customer service roles that handle sensitive information. Government agencies and contractors frequently have strict limits on LinkedIn use as well.
In these cases, an employee has no control over the visibility restrictions put in place by the company. Even with open privacy settings, their profile may show very limited information.
Usually this restriction applies specifically to displaying the employee’s association with that company in their work experience. The rest of their profile and background details remains visible.
LinkedIn Extends Restricted Profile Views
As part of LinkedIn’s efforts to increase value for paid subscriptions, they have begun extending restricted profile views to non-Premium members more frequently.
This means you may randomly get blocked from accessing a profile that you could view before, even if that member did not change their settings. LinkedIn is actively placing more limits around profile visibility.
The pop-up encouraging you to upgrade to Premium is coming from LinkedIn itself in this case, not the member limiting access. LinkedIn is leveraging these types of nudges to drive more premium subscriptions. So random profiles may get blocked simply due to this monetization strategy.
Possible Fixes When You Can’t View a Profile on LinkedIn
If you find yourself unable to view LinkedIn profiles that used to be visible, here are a few potential solutions:
- Send a connection request – If the member accepts your request, you can view their full profile.
- Upgrade to a Premium account – A paid Premium subscription provides full access to all profiles and features.
- Use an incognito or private browser window – This resets any search limits or restrictions applied to your account.
- View profiles on desktop instead of mobile -LinkedIn search limits seem to be more lenient on desktop.
- Ask the member if they restricted access – They may adjust visibility settings if limiting public access was unintentional.
When All Else Fails, Move On
With LinkedIn giving members more control over profile visibility along with increased monetization limits, you may simply need to accept that some profiles are no longer visible. Besides upgrading to Premium or connecting directly, there are no workarounds to access restricted profiles.
If it’s happening with many profiles, it’s likely due to intentional visibility settings or corporate restrictions beyond an individual user’s control. Aside from repeatedly trying incognito mode searches, you’ll have to learn to live with more limited LinkedIn access as a non-Premium user.
At least take solace knowing increased privacy protections on LinkedIn are positive for both members and the platform. And for staying in touch with connections, you can always resort to good old email while LinkedIn keeps tightening up access!