Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why Was I Banned from LinkedIn?

A few days ago I blocked my access, due to complaints from members that I "... sent or posted unsolicited messages via groups that appear to be phishing, spam, or abusive in nature ...". However, in a Kafkaesque twist, the complainants, messages and groups were not identified. Instead I had to agree to "... adhere to the LinkedIn User Agreement and Privacy Policy from this day forward", thus admitting my guilt, without knowing what it was that I was supposed to have done.

As well as blocking access to sending positing to discussion groups and administering the groups I run, my LinkedIn profile was also blocked. As I was blocked, I could not appeal to other LinkedIn members for support, or even to ask what I had done wrong.

So I agreed to LinkedIn terms. I was admonished to "... make sure any links and comments you post are appropriate for the Group ...", still without saying what group or what had been inappropriate. My access and profile were then restored:

As I still don't know what it was I said to cause offense, or in which group I said it, this has made me wary of posting anything to any LinkedIn group on any topic. I have resigned from most of the LinkedIn groups I was was a member of, to prevent accidentally posting something which may give offense and might get me banned. Also I found myself avoiding responding to, or even looking at, postings in non-LinkedIn groups, in case there was something I might do wrong there.

Previously I had reported some postings to LinkedIn, usually of the "Have your PHD Thesis Written for $10!" variety. I assumed there was a process where the poster would be told which posting was objected to and why. But this is not the case, instead you just find yourself banned.

It is worrying to think of the power which those administering such social media services have. A corporation, or government, could impose very effective social control by these means.

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