Follow Up To: LinkedIn Policy Is Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Despite my previous post “LinkedIn Policy Is Guilty Until Proven Innocent” being only three weeks old, it’s already climbed to be the third most viewed post I’ve written to date.  I guess the perceived injustice of LinkedIn’s policy on discussion posts and spam touched a nerve with many.  It should, if you actively post discussions to groups.

Many people asked me where on LinkedIn’s website they could read about this policy.  I tried to find it before I wrote that post and couldn’t.  All I had at the time was private correspondence between me and LinkedIn Support, as well as what other have shared (also correspondence).

You can read about other users’ experience with this policy in a LinkedIn forum:  http://community.linkedin.com/questions/573/why-are-my-updates-all-submitted-for-review-now.html

While the above link illustrates that users have been impacted by this policy, it’s still just a forum.  It’s not something “official” from LinkedIn.  Therefore, I’ve decided to share correspondence that I received from LinkedIn, because I feel it’s important to back up my criticism of their policy with something factual.

Correspondence One:

Here’s my polite request to LinkedIn support asking if they could provide me with a URL on their site that specifically talks about this policy:

LinkedIn, SPAM, LinkedIn Spam Policy, LinkedIn Group Discussion, LinkedIn Policy

Correspondence Two:

LinkedIn has a tendency to use canned responses.  I guess that’s understandable given the amount of messages they receive.  This didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know from their other correspondence.  It also didn’t give me a URL, which is all I wanted.  Here’s what they had to say:

LinkedIn, SPAM, LinkedIn Spam Policy, LinkedIn Group Discussion, LinkedIn Policy

Correspondence Three:

In a final attempt, I asked them once again for a link or URL they could point me towards which specifically details this new policy.  Sadly, they hide behind a generic user agreement and apparently do not address this specific policy on their site.

LinkedIn, SPAM, LinkedIn Spam Policy, LinkedIn Group Discussion, LinkedIn Policy

So at the end of the day, LinkedIn is a free site.  You’re not forced to participate.  They get to make the rules.  If you don’t like them, that’s your problem not theirs.

But, that doesn’t mean I have to be silent about an unfair policy that treats its users as guilty until proven innocent.  If you share these feelings, let LinkedIn know how you feel by contacting them directly through their site.  You can also help spread the word by sharing this post and the original post this links to.  And if you disagree, that’s fine too.  You’re still innocent until proven guilty in my eyes.  😉

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11 thoughts on “Follow Up To: LinkedIn Policy Is Guilty Until Proven Innocent

  1. Pingback: LinkedIn Policy Is Guilty Until Proven Innocent | Arthur Catalanello Consulting

  2. Arthur,
    Note that the community question is now closed. Hmmm, LinkedIn doesn’t like “pile ons”.
    However, mine is still open: http://community.linkedin.com/questions/7900/linkedins-moderation-mode-across-all-groups-when-b.html#comment-14655

    Note that I am Tweeting about the SWAM policy and warning people to pull out of all groups where they are not closely linked to the group owner, or have a strong feeling that the group owner is very engaged with the group.

    I have nine groups and check them several times per day. I’ve had to take quite a few people out of Moderation Mode as the result of this wrong-headed LinkedIn policy.

    Note that Google does it right with G+ – you can ban someone from your group. If that person is banned too many times across multiple groups, then the whip is cracked. That’s a reasonable and adult policy, unlike LinkedIn’s SWAM policy.

  3. Arthur – Thanks for all your work. Your are absolutely right …. the only thing we can all do is to to bring attention as much attention to what is a complete travesty.

    I am one of those affected through no fault of my own and what aggravates this situation is that the majority of Group owners will certainly approve your posts – especially if you message them – but few of them have any idea how to change your settings so as to enable you to post again without requiring moderation.

    What takes my breath away is LinkedIn’s arrogant attitude to those of us who have helped develop LInkedIn to what they are today. It is the Group owners who they could have notified of what they were doing, but they chose not to. You have to ask yourself is this this new policy is an ill thought out knee-jerk reaction of one youthful ignoramus who has no idea about PR, or is it the action of a company that has gathered some critical mass and has abandoned any path of continual improvement.

    As a Group owner that has to continually fight with a very poor and substandard set of tools with which to run my group, and the fact that subgroups are one such example of LinkedIn lack of care and attention to detail, I think it is the latter. And if that’s the case they will have a limited life.

  4. I completely sympathize with all who have written in and congratulate you for starting this discussion here.

    Recently, I became a victim of the SWAM policy. Everything everyone has experienced and written about here and elsewhere including canned meaningless email response from LinkedIn customer service, I experienced it for last 7 days. The entire SWAM policy is almost as bad as when Instagram decided to change their policy about owning your photos. Nothing has changed within LinkedIn since people started writing about it in Feb-March of this year (you here a month ago).

    Being in the tech and executive world for a long time, I was wondering if we should consider “social wave” of complaints in a 36-48 hours period to raise the awareness… sort of Flash_AntiSWAM.
    I am wondering if any one has considered (with permission)
    (a) Finding members who work in LinkedIn and contribute in Groups — flag them.
    (b) Flagging group moderators who are in different groups and flag them in non-moderator groups.
    (c) Connections and friends who sympathize with your predicament, with their permission, flag them in a group, so they can complain.
    (d) If you are connected with any of the “Influencer”, flag them.
    Let all experience the consequences and then we will all collectively learn – experiential learning of sorts.

    (e) Also has anyone considered bringing this to the attention of bloggers who write about badly implemented policies. Declan McCullagh who broke the news about Instagram — his profile is http://www.cnet.com/profile/declan00/
    or someone from Ars Technica or Reddit etc.

    (f) On the same day, we work towards creating a twitter trend by posting concerns using hashtag #SWAM and any of the twitter handles @LinkedIn @LinkedInDev @LinkedInToday @LinkedInEng @LinkedInHelp @LinkedInNews @LinkedInIndia @LinkedInSelling @LinkedInFrance @LinkedInSelling @jweiner @LinkedIn_jobs @LinkedIn4Good @AdsOnLinkedIn @LinkedInSmBiz @LinkedInU

    If this is done in a coordinated way for a 36-48 hours period but in an open, transparent way by all here and by others you can engage, then this “amplification” might get the attention we need.

    Feel free to connect with me or comment here.
    Three Cheers! to the wisdom of open, transparent discourse.
    Rini Das

    • Hi Rini,

      Thank you for your comment. Sorry to hear you’ve been impacted by that same ridiculous policy. While I’m just a drop in their bucket, I refuse to upgrade my membership or purchase advertising while this policy is in place and I’m impacted by it. They’ve lost a few hundred from me. Again, it’s just a drop in their bucket, but many drops can lead to something more . . .

      Kind regards,
      Arthur

  5. Arthur –

    Thanks for shining some light on this issue. While I have not (yet) been personally affected by this SWAM policy, I can see that it’s created quite a push-back from the community. After looking through the User Agreement, Group Policies, etc… I haven’t found anything significant to explain any better than you have already done.

    What I DID find was a collection of groups devoted specifically to the issue, and those that have been adversely affected by it. Here are a couple links that might be of interest (my apologies if they are redundant):
    http://community.linkedin.com/questions/25353/blocked-from-1-group-now-on-moderate-from-40-group.html
    http://community.linkedin.com/questions/17140/how-to-get-un-swamd.html

    It will be interesting to see, ass the tide of complaints rises, if LinkedIn decides to become more responsive to the issue. While I can (somewhat) understand their initial intentions, I really don’t see that this policy was well-designed or all of the potential SWAM(ing) conditions considered.

    As far as their ‘canned responses’ and ‘non-answers’… how ironic that a service designed specifically to serve a community of professionals now seems utterly unwilling to consider adapting to such a clear community backlash.

    Regards,

    Dave

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post – appreciate it! Thanks too for sharing the link. For those who are interested, you can search on #SWAM in hashtag-friendly social media platforms like Twitter and GooglePlus (and Facebook to an extent) and read more about it.

      I try engaging LinkedIn on multiple social media platforms when the opportunity arises. I’ve yet to receive a legit response. Their customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

      –Arthur

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