That smiling LinkedIn profile face might be a computer-generated fake

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜€๐—บ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—Ÿ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—œ๐—ป ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐˜‚๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ-๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ

I came across this neat article by NPR about LinkedIn profile headshots, and how a ton of them are computer-generated.

Some key takeaways I thought were interesting included:

1๏ธโƒฃ Many of the LinkedIn profiles seem to have a far more mundane purpose: drumming up sales for companies big and small.

2๏ธโƒฃ By using fake profiles, companies can cast a wide net online without beefing up their own sales staff or hitting LinkedIn’s limits on messages. Accounts can send messages to potential customers, and anyone who takes the bait gets connected to a real salesperson who tries to close the deal. Think telemarketing for the digital age.

3๏ธโƒฃ Demand for online sales leads exploded during the pandemic as it became hard for sales teams to pitch their products in person.

4๏ธโƒฃ More than 70 businesses were listed as employers on these fake profiles. Several told NPR they had hired outside marketers to help with sales. They said they hadn’t authorized any use of computer-generated images, however, and many were surprised to learn about them when NPR asked.

5๏ธโƒฃ A recent study found faces made by AI have become “indistinguishable” from real faces. People have just a 50% chance of guessing correctly whether a face was created by a computer โ€” no better than flipping a coin.

6๏ธโƒฃ Their study also found people consider computer-made faces slightly more trustworthy than real ones. Farid suspects that’s because the AI sticks to the most average features when creating a face.

7๏ธโƒฃ Fake profiles are not a new phenomenon on LinkedIn. Like other social networks, it has battled against bots and people misrepresenting themselves. But the growing availability and quality of AI-generated photos creates new challenges for online platforms. And, it’s big business! Some make upwards of $1,300 a month selling fake avatars.

8๏ธโƒฃ As prosaic as it is to use computer-generated profiles to sell things, the spread of the technology worries digital forensics experts. As AI advances, researchers expect it to become harder to detect computer-created images with the naked eye โ€” not to mention fake audio and video.

โœณ๏ธ Final thoughts: These computer-generated LinkedIn profile photos illustrate how a technology that has been used to propagate misinformation and harassment online has made its way to the corporate world. From a business perspective, making social media accounts with computer-generated faces has its advantages: It’s cheaper than hiring multiple people to create real accounts, and the images are convincing. But c’mon, the ethical side of this seems alarming. It’s the beginning of what is coming next, which is full blown audio-video deepfakes targeted to a specific person.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธAlso, check out the article to also see how NPR dug into to identify a real “fake” profile including how they came to their conclusion — some neat stuff!

Read the article here:

What are your thoughts? Chime in over here, leave a note!

๐Ÿ’ฐPS โ€“ I want you to know that referrals from satisfied clients are the lifeblood of my business, so I greatly appreciate anyone you send my way. As a bonus, for any referrals you send that purchase services from me, I will send you $25 for each! Thanks again for your continued support!

๐Ÿ“ฐ PPS โ€“ Also please subscribe to our monthly Jobstickers newsletter (, Spotify Podcast ( and Facebook Live group ( to stay up to date on job hunting industry trends, resume and social media profile and networking techniques, recruiter insights, promotions, discounts, and freebies.

โœ… PPPS โ€“ follow the hashtags #Jobstickers, #ThePragmaticResume & #UnUnEmployed on LinkedIn for other daily insights that can help you in your career or job search!

๐Ÿ’ป PPPPS โ€“ Thank you for reading! Please visit to keep up with all of MJW Careersโ€™ content, and visit or email (or call 855-YES-EMPLOYEES) to learn more about our resume writing, interview training, career coaching, or outplacement services and solutions.

Leave A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.