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LinkedIn has reinstated its tool for exporting your contacts. The company quietly removed the tool on Thursday and asked users to request an archive of their data instead, a process which could take up to 72 hours to complete.

LinkedIn’s export contacts feature allows you to easily export your own LinkedIn connections as a downloadable CSV or VCF file. That includes contacts you made while using the service, as well as any you manually imported into LinkedIn.

When the feature was pulled, users complained they didn’t want to wait up to three days to get their own contacts out of LinkedIn. They wanted to be able to export immediately, as before. Now they can, once again:



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Michael Korcuska, LinkedIn’s vice president of product management, penned a blog post explaining the backpedaling:

Earlier this week, we turned off our CSV connections download tool and asked our members to use another data export process as part of our ongoing efforts to combat the inappropriate export of member data by third parties. This process delivered more data but took longer, usually 24 hours but in some cases up to 72 hours. Since that change, we’ve heard you loud and clear — that is too long to have to wait for a download of connection information. Effective immediately, we have turned the CSV download link back on.

Our goal is to make as much of your data, including connection data, available within minutes. We will keep the CSV connections tool available until we can reach that goal (some other data items will be available in an extended archive that may take longer to process). We will then turn this tool off again, as part of our ongoing anti-scraping efforts.

We believe that the data our members enter into LinkedIn is theirs and they should be able to export it. We are also committed to ensuring members have control of what data can be exported by their connections. In the coming weeks and months you can expect to see us take additional steps to increase that control and to make the scraping of member data by third parties more difficult. Scraping is against our Terms Of Service and potentially detrimental to the members whose data is being scraped.

We are sorry for the inconvenience this caused and resolve to do better in the future.

In other words, LinkedIn is once again offering two ways to export your contacts. The company will cut that back down to one when the data archive retrieval process takes minutes, not days.

Over the last 48 hours, we’ve talked to LinkedIn multiple times about why the company was making these changes. In a previous statement, Korcuska said the team had combined the two export options “into one single process” to “simplify this experience.”

It looks like the company learned the hard way that users don’t want simplification if it means waiting longer.

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