The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

A Dictatorship Is Not A Community …

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had 2 very unpleasant interactions with LinkedIn.

The first was when I discovered my personal account had been blocked by them.

No warning.
No reason.
Just blocked.

I had to look on Google to find out how I could get in contact with them, and after discovering that I had to submit proof of my ID – they got back to me to say that someone had found a post I’d written offensive due to it’s adult content … and as they felt it contravened some LinkedIn policy I’d never heard of, they needed me to apologise to them before they would reinstate me.

Now I appreciate the image I chose was provocative, however it was not just for shock value … it was part of a presentation/post I was giving about the terrible, sexist, bullying behaviour men subject women to in the work place every single day – so I found it remarkable they ignored the context – which was clear – and just banned me and demanded an apology.

I told them I refused to apologise because it’s a genuine presentation about a genuine issue … however, as they appeared to be OK with that sort of behaviour, I would report them to the workplace commission for equal rights as well as the #MeToo organisation.

Unsuprisingly they reinstated my account saying ‘they appreciate I wasn’t trying to be offensive’, despite having previously said they agreed with whoever complained about my post and – contrary to most legal protocols – regarded me guilty, even though they had not sought any information or context about the post from the person being accused.

But pathetic and annoying but that was nothing compared to what was yet to come.

So a week later – which seems a very strange coincidence – the Corporate Gaslighting LinkedIn account was banned.

Again no warning. No explanation. Just banned.

So I went through the same thing and then they got back to me with this …

Yep, the issue is simply the account is under Corporate Gaslighting’s name rather than my own – despite all contact details are.

But here’s where it gets even more annoying.

“Due to the nature of this account, we won’t be able to remove the restriction and/or merge this account with another one.”

That’s right.

It’s blocked. Forever.

Not because they couldn’t link it to my account but because they didn’t want to. Because of the ‘nature’ of the account.

And this is where I’m confused because surely the nature of the account is perfect for LinkedIn?

In fact, when I read the LinkedIn ‘purpose’, which states:

‘Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful’

… then I can’t think of a more perfect partner for LinkedIn.

But no. They don’t want it.

It’s fine to have shady recruiters taking money from their clients to spam anyone they can get to. It’s fine to have men use their site to hit on women. It’s fine to pretend you’re a z-grade shrink with a guaranteed answer to everything you could ever wish for. It’s fine to allow ‘members’ to spout blatant lies about their achievements or sales tools. It’s fine to have people use the platform to talk about the conformity of professional appearance … but it’s not OK to have someone who is dedicated to helping professionals being systematically undermined by bad leaders, because the way I filled in their form is a violation of the LinkedIn User Agreement and Professional Community Policies.

I’ll tell you what’s a violation – LinkedIn’s claims they are a community. That they want to help people succeed. That they want to connect people together.

LinkedIn wants everyone to follow their orders. What they have decided is right. What works in their best interests. And if for some reason that doesn’t happen, then they let their god complex run riot – before hiding behind anonymous people and policies that don’t allow for context or conversation … just a brazen and contrived ‘computer says no’ guilty verdict, with all the humanity and consideration of an ATM machine.

Dear LinkedIn. You are in danger of becoming the absolute opposite of what you claim to be about, because if you were, you’d have created your own version of Corporate Gaslighting, but no, you’d rather just ban it. But then, when you’re paying your CEO almost $14,000,000 per year, I appreciate the last thing you’d ever want to do is to take any sort of stand against any sort of professional misconduct, for fear of alienating the companies who allow your CEO to be paid such an obscene amount.

Linkedin has incredible potential to be a real force for good.

Not just for corporations, but employees too.

It could influence real, positive change.
It could drive shifts in values, attitudes and rewards.
It could challenge the rules of what ‘professionalism’ supposedly means and looks like in the modern age.
It could help shape the future of work in ways that benefit all.

And while some could say they are doing this in their own way, the past few weeks have suggested to me their focus is on keeping the C-Suite happy rather than helping people create a new version of the C-Suite.

It’s a shame, because the whole industry is begging for some sort of major change but instead, they not only prefer to keep things exactly the same … they are using their power to ensure it does.

If you – or someone you know – are having your confidence systematically undermined, by colleagues … you are not alone. There is help out there. Not at but at TheyTriedToKillMeButI.Live

20 Comments so far
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They’re going to ban you, but what a way to go. Great takedown Rob. Linkedin are the dark web of professional services.

Comment by Bazza

the dark web is much more fucking interesting than those corporate fucking monkeys.

Comment by andy@cynic

That their first step is to remove members before informing them says all you need to know about Linkedin. I find the whole place unpleasant for all the reasons you listed. In addition, they seem to support a 1950’s view of what professionalism means, immediately alienating anyone born after 1950.

That they removed Corporate Gaslighting just makes me dislike them more. I don’t know anyone who values them so surely they are ripe for being overthrown?

The last photo in the post is brilliant by the way. Is it real? I hope so.

Comment by Pete

I agree Pete. Ripe for being overthrown.

Someone just sent me this thing TBWA Paris did to try and start it. Not sure of all the details or how successful it is, but it appears interesting.

Comment by Rob

You’ve given me an idea. I’ll call you this weekend if you’re around.

Comment by Pete

Is the last photograph really from Linkedin, Robert? It is hilarious because it is so true.

Comment by Geeorge

Oh sorry, missed that.

Yes, I believe it is. A mate sent it to me yesterday and as you said George, it’s funny because rubbish like that appears on their ‘professional site’ all the time. Except they aren’t trying to take the piss.

Even though they are …

Comment by Rob

hes the best thing ive ever seen on linkedin. most fucking truthful for a start.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m so so so disappointed in them.

They are – of course – entitled to their choices, but to just act without consultation or deliberation or context on anything that they find distasteful or not quite working to the way they want everything to work, implies they don’t really care about anything other than their own needs and wants.

What sort of community is that?

Comment by Rob

I find it interesting that the companies who are most vocal about serving their community are the worst for directly interacting with them. Linkedin should be ashamed about how they handle conflict. Presuming guilt rather than innocence is a disgusting way to act, especially in relation to your own members.

Comment by Geeorge

Offence is not a crime.

Comment by John

Unless, apparently, you live in the delusional world of Linkedin.

Comment by Rob

When these situations occur, I always remember someone devised and designed this process and had it approved by senior management. A disgusting way to behave.

Comment by Lee Hill

fuck linkedin. fuck anyone earning 14 mill for producing that pile of fucking shit., theyre not even doing anything for it, they let their idiot audience do it for them. theyre the fucking product and dont even realise it, sold cheaply to any fucking lazy ass recruiter or shit advertiser so the ceo can buy another fucking lear jet. they shouldnt be talking about professionalism, they should be talking about the art of the fucking con. wankers.

Comment by andy@cynic

The community is the product. Nailed it.

Comment by Rob

I think we’re being unfair. Linkedin just act how big corps act. Basically they’re teaching their “community” the truth about how to get ahead.

Be a dick.

Comment by DH

Ha. True.

Comment by Rob

Perfectly said Andrew. This comment reminds me why we started cynic. Not to be rebellious or contrarian, but because truth is the only way to build a foundation that society will engage with. I still believe it. I still miss cynic. Or parts of it.

Comment by George


Comment by andy@cynic

[…] Yes … Linkedin. The platform that is to community what Boris Johnson is to leadership. […]

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