LinkedIn: You Are Guilty But We’re Not Telling You The Crime, Or Who Has Accused You…

By Steve Nicholls

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I am starting to wonder if LinkedIn ever listens to users’ legitimate concerns. The headline sums up the approach to Site Wide Auto Moderation (SWAM), something that I fell victim to recently.

Someone took it upon themselves to flag something I had posted, or maybe something that I had commented on. I don’t know what I’m supposed to have done, because LinkedIn won’t tell me. I’m a career coach who tries hard to add value to people that I network with. It’s always been my ethos.

So my first thought was to contact the group moderator (more about that later) and find out who had flagged my content, and what the objection was, given that in many groups I am a member of there are many members who post one item after the other of debatable value, and ironically this can also lead to them becoming “Top Contributors” (There are good and bad Top Contributors, but my ethos is of offering value to colleagues and potential clients alike).

It turns out that there is no way to know which group, let alone which group member, flagged the piece, and as the process is automated all anyone has to do is flag something as spam and voila, the poster is punished without recourse or investigation from LinkedIn.

Therefore, anyone can flag anything as spam without having to justify it, and the contributor will be “auto punished”! So the flood gates are open for unscrupulous business competitors, or any other malicious minded folks to home in on any individual/business and tarnish their reputation (as well as cause a massive inconvenience) by flagging anything they like as spam – amazingly without a high level intervention from LinkedIn.

Much around SWAM has been written online. You only have to search for Katrina Collier (and read her views on the subject). A good friend and colleague of mine Tony Restell, another top drawer contributor to LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups, have fallen victim to this ridiculous practice.

The time I’ve just spent writing to 50 group Moderators to explain the situation, and assuring them of my best intentions, has been the only way forward that I can see short term. One reply already says, “Hi Steve, as far as I'm aware, I haven't ever blocked your posts and generally accept them to the group as they are informative and well written.”

Those (malicious or well meaning) that flag content as spam / inappropriate should have to go through an approval process the same as those who wrote the piece (Unless it’s an open group).

Come on LinkedIn, get this sorted. Time to get the playing field level again.


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