LinkedIn plans “block” feature to screen unwanted visitors

LinkedIn(s lnkd), dogged by ongoing complaints that its platform is a tool for stalkers, is planning to introduce a “block” feature similar to those in place at other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Analyst site AIM Group reported the feature on Tuesday, and LinkedIn has confirmed it to GigaOM; the company did not, however, specify when it will arrive or its reasons for introducing it.

In recent months, the media has assailed the intrusive nature of LinkedIn’s connection tools in articles like “LinkedIn, the creepiest social network,” and female professionals have called attention to how strangers and casual acquaintances use the site’s “InMail” tool to hit on them. (SocialCreeps includes gems like “I am not sure you got my last message on how mesmerizing your eyes are”).

More seriously, BuzzFeed reported in June on how perpetrators of sexual assault are using the site to harass their victims.

Such issues are not unique to LinkedIn, but other sites have acted sooner to add features to protect users.

LinkedIn was also hit last weekend by a class action lawsuit that accuses it of “breaking into” into its users’ email accounts in order to send repeat invitations to anyone they have every contacted. LinkedIn has adamantly denied the accusations.

It’s unclear to what degree the charges will affect LinkedIn since the site enjoys what amounts to a situational monopoly for professional profiles.