Some of you may have noticed I was inactive on LinkedIn for a couple of days recently. In fact, my entire profile was gone and my name wouldn’t appear in your inbox either. I became a LinkedIn ghost. This is because my account had been restricted – and I know I’m not the only one.
I went through a real emotional rollercoaster. From panic, through despair to anger. I’m lucky I have an amazing and supportive network who helped me through this. Now I’m back (for now anyway), I’m determined to help others out. I may not be able to do much, but as there’s next to no information available on the subject, I thought I’d share with all of you what I’ve learned so far. That’s not much either, but the good news is I’ll keep digging and in this I’m not alone either.
As far as I know no one is really safe – Premium account holders report being blocked just like anyone else. So simply upgrading your acccount will not guarantee your account won’t be restricted.
I was on the platform and when I refreshed my feed, I was logged out. After trying to log back in, I was redirected to a screen that explained my account was now restricted.
You should know there are more than one types of restriction. One of the two (as far as I know) may occur:
• Your account could be temporarily restricted, in which case you’ll be notified about the exact time when the restriction will be lifted,
• Your account could be permanently restricted, in which case you’ll be advised to appeal you will need to provide an ID or passport online
While I am not trying to tell you what to do, I think if you’re asked for your ID, you should not send it through without considering the security issues.
We have become so used to providing any information we’re asked for, we seem desensitised to the dangers. Are you sure your connection is secure and LinkedIn will be the only ones receiving your ID? Do you know what could be done in your country with information included? Do you know who, at LinkedIn, will gain access to your data and how they will process it?
I decided not to share such sensitive data but even if I did, my full first name doesn’t match what I’m using on LinkedIn. People never refer to me as Katarzyna, so I felt it would serve me better to use Kasia for my profile – I use the same everywhere else. Once I was restricted, I couldn’t alter or delete my data so providing ID didn’t guarantee getting back on the platform.
Before you panic (just like I did), make sure to tell your network what happened. They may be able to help.
1. The first thing I did was to send a message to LinkedIn Help on Twitter. Unfortunately, they advised me they wouldn’t be able to help. You may still want to try, but I can’t promise you better results.
2. The second thing was asking for help – this is the discussion if you want to read through it. What I got from it was an email address for LinkedIn Customer Service. I contacted them immediately, but it took over a day to receive a reply, so message them straight away! If you don’t have the email address, please look at the comments, it’s been mentioned a couple of times 🙂
3. Then I started receiving messages from my network. Some people I know contacted their connections at LinkedIn to ask them for help on my behalf. Ask your friends and connections if they could help, if you are paying for your LinkedIn account make sure to speak to your contact directly.
4. Suddenly it turned out people started showing their support. On LinkedIn (I couldn’t see it but got lots of screenshots form my network!) and Twitter, tagging their LinkedIn contacts or the LinkedIn Help account asking them to help me get back on the platform.
Now I know you may think you have no one to do this for you. This isn’t true. I will be the first one to admit that LinkedIn did an incredible job providing us with a great networking tool. But that means we’re all a community now and I’m sure you made connections to people who will support your efforts to get back on the platform!
After lifting the restriction, LinkedIn Customer Service messaged me to explain what happened. They claimed I reviewed too many profiles and suggested this may have been caused by a sourcing tool. But I don’t use any plugins or extensions that operate on LinkedIn. I know other people who are currently blocked on LinkedIn who don’t either – so it seems like a generic line rather than a genuine reason.
The truth is none of us know why LinkedIn are currently blocking so many users. There are lots of smart people trying to guess what’s happening, but I haven’t yet heard anything that I would feel fully explains the situation.
Please make sure to carefully read the Terms of Service. If there’s anything that stands out or alarms you, anything you haven’t noticed before – share it in the comments please! If there’s anything you think may have caused your account to be blocked, it’s probably best to be upfront about it. If you don’t, we’ll continue to look for answers together.
Whatever happens, after spending a couple of days off the platform, I can tell you there is a life without LinkedIn 😊 I’m determined to understand what happens and if I suffer any consequences for it, so be it. I see great value in LinkedIn but less because of the platform itself. It’s YOU, my network. It’s the people I get to interact with that create this value. So if I ever get blocked permanently, I won’t panic. I’ll just see if we can connect elsewhere 😊
ON THAT NOTE if you’d like to keep in touch, you may want to subscribe to this blog. We never know when I become a LinkedIn Ghost again 😉