LinkedIn’s Growth Tactic and a Non-Ideal Error Message

Recently I noticed that LinkedIn was suggesting that I connect with people who shared zero professional connections with me. What was odd was that I actually knew of these people but had only had one or two email exchanges with them in the past. How on earth did LinkedIn know that I knew these people and that we had any type of a connection whatsoever to begin with? 

At first, I thought something sneaky was going on and I even entertained the laughable notion that LinkedIn was reading my email. As silly as it sounded I still went ahead and did a Google search for “does linkedin read my email” to see what popped up. 

LinkedIn Contacts 4

I clearly wasn’t the first person to have noticed this strange phenomenon. After scouring through the top links, I realized that the simplest explanation was that I had, at some point, unknowingly fallen for the old “share your address book with us” trick by clicking a button on their site and now they had access to my Gmail address book. The good news was that there is a way out of this predicament. The first step is to go to the following link:

So here’s the tricky part: In order to delete the list of emails that LinkedIn has on file associated to my external address book, I have to go to the first page of the flow where they gain access to my various email address books. So be careful here – as you might end up achieving the opposite goal of what you wanted to accomplish. Once you go to this page, click on the link in the top right corner that says Manage imported contacts

LinkedIn Contacts 1

Next, you will be taken to the page to view your contacts: 

LinkedIn Contacts 2

By default, all of your contacts are pre-selected, and if you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see a button in order to delete all of the contacts. 

Not too difficult right? Well, actually, after clicking this button, I received the unfortunate error that I’m trying to delete too many contacts at a time:
LinkedIn Contacts 3

In short, LinkedIn somehow collected my Gmail contacts from me without me realizing it, does not offer a user-friendly way to remove the collected contacts, and once I found the page to actually remove the contacts, LinkedIn will not let me do that (unless I remove them three or four at a time) because I’m “trying to delete too many contacts at a time”. Not very user friendly.