by Allen Williams
In 2012, I received an invitation to join the Linked in social media platform from one of the local county commissioners that I became acquainted with in the publication of newpatriotsblog.com. I am not by nature inclined to schmooze or chat on social media platforms; however LinkedIn offered a unique opportunity to publish technical material that challenges the ‘science' of our day. So I viewed the opportunity to present and discuss innovation as paramount to professionals of any discipline.
When I first arrived, the platform was largely a conglomeration of employment offerings, company product information and presentation of various interests specific to professionals in certain fields. The platform was largely devoid of stifling regulations on ‘free' speech or expanded definitions of ‘hate' or racial bigotry so that all could participate on equal footing. All conservative thought and ideas were welcome regardless of ethnicity, color or political persuasion; one was expected to defend his or her assertions with sound arguments and good taste.
However, once conservative ideas began to gain a foothold by challenging the prevailing mantra on social, scientific and political issues, the platform began to quietly ‘restrict' various participants while revising the platform's ‘community policies': https://www.linkedin.com/legal/professional-community-policies. Note that their term ‘restriction' means suspension as I was without NOTICE or WARNING. On Sept 24, 2020 I suddenly could no longer login to the platform:
appeal process for such circumstances is devoid of DUE PROCESS which
ensures that virtually NO ONE is reinstated: I could not login-to review
my case which suggests there really wasn't anything substantive to
corroborate their case in the first place.
Social media enjoys greater protection against litigation for its actions under section 230 of the Communications Act than conventional media thereby emboldening platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc to censor viewpoints that do not align with their professional or community standard policies. This practice censors facts or information which conflicts with these standards violating the first amendment. President Trump recently filed a petition regarding 'how social media platforms are being unfairly flagged and censored' to restrict conservative viewpoints. In lieu of LinkedIn's suspension of my account, I found it necessary to file a complaint with the FCC adding my voice to that of others unfairly suspended. Presently there is no FCC enforcement mechanism to curb social media abuses, it is with fervent hope that the litany of complaints following the president's petition will result in restriction of social media's lawsuit immunity thereby resulting in genuine reform. The intended result being a more open platform to all points of view. My letter to the FCC (full wording):
Dear Chairman Pai and Commissioners:
I am writing today because the FCC has no complaint mechanism in place for social media access restriction to a platform predicated on supposed violations of 'community standards' which often conflict with free speech rights. I've checked your available forms at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us and there is nothing listed that addresses this concern. In my case the restriction occurred on LinkedIn after the FCC 45 day comment period on the Trump Administration's petition on 'how social media platforms are being unfairly flagged and censored', in my case suspending me on Sept 24, 2020 without warning.
I feel this is the best way to make the FCC aware of a growing problem wherein social media are determining what information, ideas, topics are 'acceptable' on their platform essentially instituting ex parte Orwellian censorship intended to prevent unwanted ideas from gaining credibility or exposure on the Internet.
LinkedIn claims its site is for professionals where ideas can be exchanged, debated and news germane to the public may be disseminated but the platform has adopted the same type of censorship as Facebook and other restrictive platforms while still permitting certain salacious materials to abound. I was subjected to unwanted solicitations by young women posting improper pictures of themselves on LinkedIn which went on for months of which I have a photocopy of the woman's request to join my group documented in my rebuttal to LinkedIn. Read my experience on Sitejabber here: https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/linkedin.com#429
Social media platforms are emboldened by the lack of section 230 definition (and zero enforcement) of where immunity ends under the communications act resulting in conservative journalists such as Cheryl Chumley, commentator for the Washington Times to be suspended; https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/craig-shirley/linkedin-targets-conservative-journalist-infantile-censorship I have read many of Mss Chumley's reports (and even commented on a few) on Linked in and have never found grounds to suggest she should be restricted.
Allen K. Williams, P.E.
Mich #30236 (Ret)
Allen K Reference # *******03687 View your case(s) on our Help Center
Auto-Response (09/25/2020 07:41 CST) … This is a support email in
response to your request submitted on LinkedIn…. LinkedIn Corporation,
1000 West Maude Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94085... LinkedIn and the LinkedIn
logo are registered trademarks of LinkedIn...
Thanks for contacting us. Someone from our support team will get back to you as soon as possible.
Your LinkedIn Customer Experience Team
My (9/25/2020) Response
This is asinine as you well know I MUST BE LOGGED IN TO VIEW the alleged case link below and my earlier email below documents that it is not possible to review my 'so-called' case. This is either a gross error on your part or you are implementing Silicon Valley's censorship protocols prior to the election.
The statement made by your system that I may continue as a 'guest' after providing my identity confirmation DOESN'T work. I'm still blocked and I wonder what might have precipitated such action on your part so close to the election?
LinkedIn Response (09/26/2020 03:30 CST)
Reference # *******03687 View your case(s) on our Help Center
I'm sorry for not having a quick answer about your issue. I've forwarded your message to another group for additional review and advice. We'll be in contact with you as quickly as possible, but your issue may require additional research, which may extend your wait time.
If you can log into your account, you can always check the status of your case on LinkedIn:
1. Click the Me icon (your profile photo) at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
2. Select Open Quick Help from the dropdown and click Go to Help Homepage.
3. On the Help page, click your profile photo in the top right, and then select View your cases from the drop down to see the status of any cases you've submitted.
Please note that if you aren't able to login for any reason, you won't be able to check the status of your case. We ask that you don't create any additional cases in the meantime. We're working as quickly as possible to resolve your inquiry.
Thanks for your patience.
Member Safety and Recovery Consultant Member
[I DIDN'T initiate ANY complaint CASES. When it's the platform that initiates the suspension, the accused CAN"T ACCESS ANYTHING in the system. Rather than giving me a response, Ellen sent me to another LinkedIn customer support member to which I responded:]
My (9-26-2020 7:11 pm) response
How about telling me what the issue is? Surely you know enough to do that.
Reference # *******03687
Status: Waiting For Information View your case(s) on our Help Center
You may reply to this case for up to 14 days
We've identified activity that shows you're sending unwanted/inappropriate content via LinkedIn messages. This type of content violates the LinkedIn User Agreement and Professional Community Policies, which states that you agree not to:
• Harass, abuse, or harm another person.
• Send spam or other unwelcomed communications to others.
We ask that you cease this type of communication, and remember that we expect all members to use a professional demeanor when using LinkedIn. For complete details, please see our User Agreement and Professional Community Policies.
We've restricted your account pending your response that you'll adhere to the LinkedIn User Agreement and Professional Community Policies going forward. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
LinkedIn Member Safety and Recovery Consultant
MY (9-26-2020 8:13 pm) RESPONSE: Hold on there friend!
You'll have to be a lot more specific about the 'community policies' that I've supposedly violated than simply claiming that I'm sending unwanted and 'inappropriate' comments via linked in messages'. You need to provide some specific examples as to what I've supposedly done rather than disguise your accusations in nebulous terms before I agree to anything.
First of all, you can begin by defining 'messages' because your system supports 'peer to peer' individual communication as well as general posts to either my network or any linked in viewer. You should be able to tell very quickly from the system's archives that I NEVER initiate a personal message to anyone except a few times to give a 'heads up' on general news articles that I've posted or a professional paper that I recently published. The system should tell you that I only RESPOND to messages that are sent to me. I don't send salacious or sexual material nor do I engage in any form of bullying, sexual harassment or sexual innuendo. Now if you do as complete a job of 'investigating' as you maintain, the archives should verify what I've alleged. That said, I believe you have no evidence of my sending inappropriate content using the standard general dictionary definitions of these terms.
The issue in point seems inclined towards 'viewpoint discrimination' which means that I'm posting articles of general information that the public should be aware of which are neither salacious, vulgar, threatening or intimidating BUT nevertheless are 'offensive' and unwanted per your community standards that are starting to appear very much like Facebook's 'AI' style censorship. I think your system will verify that I've published nothing unsavory unless of course you regard conservative viewpoints and opinions as unsavory. And if so, we will have a problem.
If you suspend me or restrict my access over 'unwanted/inappropriate' material that has been redefined by your community standard policies to mean what I've outlined above, you are in violation of my first Amendment rights and THERE WILL BE consequences.
You may reply to this case for up to 14 days
I'm sorry it's taken this long to get back to you and thanks for being so patient.
We've identified that you've posted or comments on the posts/articles of LinkedIn members that appear to be unsolicited and not in compliance with our user agreement.
Posting content that is meant to harass or abuse another person is in violation of LinkedIn's Professional Community Guidelines https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/global/id/34593. We have these policies in order to protect the value of the LinkedIn network for everyone.
Due to privacy reasons, I will be unable to disclose the exact information of the violation.
Further, it is not OK to use LinkedIn's services to threaten violence or property damage, or for hate speech acts, such as attacking people because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious affiliations, or medical or physical condition.
Your LinkedIn account has been suspended, pending your response stating that you'll adhere to LinkedIn policies from this day forward.
LinkedIn Member Safety and Recovery Consultant
My (09/29/2020 09:40 CST) Response:
I don't know what you're attempting to do here but the link you provided below: View your case(s) on our Help Center DOES nothing;. It simply lists a series of 'help' sources which have nothing to do with my 'so-called' case. Either you people pay little attention to detail or this is just your version of FACEBOOK censorship. I can't LOGIN because you are NOT just restricting my account, you've already suspended it.
This is amply demonstrated by your unwillingness to state the 'specifics' of your own 'guideline(s)' that I've supposedly violated leaving me with the only option of responding to the vague allegations contained in your emails, for example:. "Posting content that is meant to harass or abuse another person is in violation of LinkedIn's Professional Community Guidelines https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/global/id/34593. We have these policies in order to protect the value of the LinkedIn network for everyone."
Another statement that is NOT true as I've received abusive statements from other Linked in members on occasion and the platform took no action suggesting an innate bias.
These policies exist so that anyone can be restricted or suspended on nothing more than an accusation. The policy states: "We ask every member on LinkedIn to act responsibly. If you see something that you believe may violate our policies, please report it to us. This includes whether it appears in profiles, posts, comments, conversations, or anywhere else. These reports, along with our automated defenses, help us identify and prevent abuse and misbehavior. Please use the reporting tools responsibly and only for their intended purposes. To learn more about how to report inappropriate behavior, visit our LinkedIn Safety Center."
This is subjective reader opinion rather than objective facts based on Libel, Slander, or tangible evidence but rather are predicated on the current level of 'political correctness' which in itself violates the rights of others holding dissenting opinions or beliefs that the American First Amendment was intended to protect. I can see that you expect me to apologize for something I didn't do replying solely to the vague allegations contained in this series of correspondences, to wit: "We've identified that you've posted or comments on the posts/articles of LinkedIn members that appear to be unsolicited and not in compliance with our user agreement." And this statement means.? Why don't you state the specific guideline that I violated as I quoted above? Is it because that guideline is in itself so vague that it wouldn't corroborate your allegation? The obvious take away here is '. Don't comment on anything unless a comment is directed to you specifically by name which is patently absurd. I challenge assertions and ideas in my comments and posts and expect objectors to defend their positions equally as I do. 'Social justice' is an anathema to freedom.
"Further, it is not OK to use LinkedIn's services to threaten violence or property damage, or for hate speech acts, such as attacking people because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious affiliations, or medical or physical condition."
Let's cut the crap, shall we? You have no real evidence that I've violated any of your listed conditions, especially threatening violence. And 'Hate Speech' is now defined as holding beliefs or making statements contrary to the official state narrative. I'm equally not a racist or white supremacist or whatever the latest term is. This isn't a policy or a guideline, it's an emotional opinion based on the erroneous premise that a user's words have 'offended' unnamed parties giving special credence to why the US 6th amendment exists, that is, the right to confront one's accusers. Your guideline definitions connote censorship and you've aptly demonstrated that user 'appeal' is only for appearance because you've already suspended my account. I have watched LinkedIn do that to a number of other members on the platform, most notably Wayne Allyn Root.
This exercise is intended for nothing more than for me to apologize for something I didn't do and agree to conditions that you have failed to elucidate beyond the vagaries of your purported 'professional' community guidelines which are neither 'professional' nor in compliance with the US bill of rights. And the fact that you are a California company that has no respect for our Constitution and its guaranteed liberties is especially offensive to me.
Thank you for writing back into LinkedIn. I will try to address your query in the best manner possible.
As mentioned in previous communication, your comments or posts on articles were reported and found inappropriate as per the professional community guidelines. These policies apply to all members.
I also understand that you have been a victim and you have received abusive statements from other LinkedIn members. We kindly request you to report such incidents so that these can be investigated. If you see something you believe may violate our policies, whether in profiles, posts, messages, comments, or anywhere else, please report it to us.
[11-20-2020: Last Picture in the series below is an example of my posting 'unwanted or unsolicited information' in catching Linkedin Editors shorting the number of recorded reads on an article entitled 'Hotel California' which depicted how the homeless were living on the streets of LA and other major cities by some 1100+ individuals. Needless to say there was no response, no apology, no explanation and the post soon disappeared as if it never happened.]
We require all members to engage in a professional manner and this type of content is not allowed. The account will continue to remain restricted until to adhere and comply to LinkedIn user agreement and abide by LinkedIn Professional Community Policies.
LinkedIn Member Safety and Recovery Consultant Member
[ More recently Cheryl Chumley, conservative journalist at the Washington Times, who doesn't respond to comments on her LinkedIn posts was suspended. Why? Most likely for ‘offensive and unwanted' post content, what else? This is unsupportable because she posted the same article at the New York Times: (https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/craig-shirley/linkedin-targets-conservative-journalist-infantile-censorship) which is the very definition of censorship.]
I find your replies to be quite disingenuous. You either have a problem with nomenclature or you have redefined common terms to suit the purposes of administrative action. If you understood the language, you'd realize that: My account is NOT restricted; it has been suspended but apparently 'words mean whatever you wish them to.'
A brief glimpse into the so-called 'Linked in Professional standards: "These policies apply to all members. Depending on the severity of violation, we may limit the visibility of certain content or remove it entirely."
NO THEY DO NOT! Dependence is a function of ‘who' you are and your political affiliations as evidenced by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman's election shenanigans. The standard fails to mention that the rank-and-file member will be denied access. Or is my supposed incident simply too new for you to have adjusted the standards in time to cover?
The standard continues "We don't monitor, filter, or remove member-generated content from our site unless they are inappropriate as defined in our User Agreement and Professional Community Policies."
Really? Then why didn't you simply remove my supposed offensive material rather than choosing to suspend me while calling it a 'restriction" Or did you already do that but just failed to mention it? As expected, it's quite difficult to comply with standards that are fluid or a moving target, i, e. When changes in standards are predicated on thoughts someone doesn't like (or want) as reflected by its frequent updates. This is the very definition of censorship.
"As mentioned in previous communication, your comments or posts on articles were reported and found inappropriate as per the professional community guidelines."
This nicely explains why you wouldn't list any of my purported 'offensive posts' as 'examples of unprofessional 'ism'. To do so would undermine the vagueness and credibility of your accusations especially since nearly all my posts were excerpts from previously published EXTERNAL articles.
"I also understand that you have been a victim and you have received abusive statements from other LinkedIn members. We kindly request you to report such incidents so that these can be investigated."
Do you even understand the total absurdity of this statement? What is the point of my reporting it when you are already aware of it? Here's a news flash for you: professionals have (or should have) the qualifications to defend their assertions, facts and opinions without any help from 'Big Brother.' The exhortation to report 'offenses' has its roots in social conditioning of others to contain free thought - a benchmark of Orwellian censorship.
"Do not engage in unwanted advances: We don't allow unwanted expressions of attraction, desire, requests for a romantic relationship, marriage proposals, sexual advances or innuendo, or lewd remarks."
Take a look at the photo invitation I included from 'Helen Stevens' to appreciate my remark. I posted a copy of her invitation to the Linked in general population citing its inappropriateness AND NOT A WORD from LInkedIn Editor/Censors!
The fact that one is required to 'complain first' suggests a psychological conditioning of the subject to train the user to monitor the social discourse of his or her peers which again is common practice in authoritative societies.
"We don't allow individuals or groups that engage in or promote violence, property damage, or organized criminal activity. You may not use LinkedIn to express support for such individuals or groups or to otherwise glorify violence."
Judging from your responses, you don't accept articles or comments that simply REPORT such actions without advocacy as I have done on Antifa, BLM and the communist party. The actions you've demonstrated here clearly conveys an active censorship environment where the platform intention is to condition its users to accept 'social justice' in place of 'due process' and 'inclusiveness' of thought so that all viewpoints are equally valid and there is no prevailing ideology or absolute truth. This is also a hallmark of Orwellian censorship.
"Do not share content to interfere with or improperly influence an election or another civic process."
Oh please! Your hypocrisy is overbearing. "Billionaire LinkedIn co-founder and Bilderberg attendee Reid Hoffman, was caught staging a false flag operation with fake Russian bots to influence the Alabama Senate election." http://www.camelotdaily.com/jewish-co-founder-reid-hoffman-implicated-jewish-pedophile-jeffrey-epstein-cover/. This is clearly in violation of "We have limited ability to act on content appearing beyond our site unless it's in direct violation of our brand."
LinkedIn's Bilderberg association doesn't resolve well with the notion of intellectual freedom but rather conveys a sound basis for the latent censorship hidden in your 'professional standards'. It should now be evident to the public as to how the LinkedIn standards have been structured with an innate bias. We'll see how long your credibility lasts now, eh?
If you were genuinely interested in 'professional standards' then you would have set appropriate criteria for QUALIFYING' as a professional in order to join Linked in as is the case for real professional societies such as the American Chemical Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, etc. Here's another news flash for you: A crane operator is NOT a professional by any real world standards I know of which places your 'alternate reality' in question.
I think the real intent here is pretty clear. Rest assured that the abject hypocrisy on display at Linked in won't be lost on my readers.
So my appeal is reduced to carte blanche agreeing that I've done or said something ‘inappropriate' without example, without the ability to read what my accusers have claimed and without an unbiased hearing. Even if I apologized for what I supposedly had said or posted, there's absolutely no guarantee I would be reinstated. My ‘admissions' are intended to protect LinkedIn from ensuing legal liability.
LinkedIn is an abysmal platform for conveying anything meaningful as evidenced by the number of conservatives that have been restricted (suspended) and I've already identified two prominent individuals. There are many more.
The LinkedIn platform gives a false impression of professionalism and is restricted to prevent unwanted ideas from gaining credibility or exposure on the Internet. It isn't worth the effort to join and the resultant social environment is right out of some dystopian novel.