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How to Protect Yourself from LinkedIn as a Micropreneur

Weekly #109 | Lessons from LinkedIn removing my account

Recently, I had a pretty frustrating experience with LinkedIn. My account, which I had been building for over 10+ years, was suddenly hidden and now will “remain restricted.”

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I tried to contest it, but it was clear their automated systems had made up their mind, and there was no way to get a real human to look at my case. This experience made me realize just how vulnerable we are as micropreneurs relying on big platforms like LinkedIn.

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Other LinkedIn Users Risk Losing Their Accounts

I'm not alone in this. Lots of micropreneurs, including my friend Anfernee Chansamooth, have had their accounts restricted or deleted because of these strict, but poorly regulated, automated policies:

The problem is, LinkedIn's algorithms decide what counts as spam or a violation, and they often get it wrong. There's a term in the AI world for this, HITL, which stands for Human in the Loop. It means having actual people involved in the decision-making process, because AI/ML doesn’t always get things right, which LinkedIn clearly needs more of.

In many ways, I feel that LinkedIn suffers from the same issues Twitter had. But when Elon Musk took the helm, Twitter actually improved. And part of that came from the use of Community Ratings, which made contested posts public, transparent, and accountable. LinkedIn’s automation system, policy adherence, and then support team decision-making abilities, are all quite questionable right now.

Personal Impact

Losing access to my LinkedIn account means losing over a decade of connections, messages, and content. It's not just a personal loss; it's a professional one that affects my business opportunities. The fact that I can't even contest the decision with a real person shows a big flaw in LinkedIn's system. The emails I received showed a real context-blind response, often a result of not being able to read between the lines, not having all the required information, and then making decisions that have severe ramifications for users.

Any type of loyalty (e.g. 10+ years on the platform) was thrown out the window.

Meanwhile, other actual scam accounts run rampant with impunity (ever had a LinkedIn account spam with you cold DMs?).

Wider Implications

This isn't just about me. Many micropreneurs and small business owners rely on LinkedIn to build their networks and grow their businesses. So when accounts are unfairly restricted or deleted, it disrupts their operations and erodes trust in the platform.

It's also an ethical issue—how are these companies deciding what's “spam?”

Call for Change

Big companies need to understand that not everything can be automated. They need better HITL processes to ensure fair treatment of users. Investing in robust support systems that allow users to contest and resolve issues with human help is crucial.

LinkedIn, learn from Elon Musk and his team at Twitter.

Protective Measures

As micropreneurs, we need to protect our data and online presence. Luckily, I exported all my LinkedIn contacts at the end of last year. I also had a bunch of them synced with a neat tool called Clay (a new CRM), retaining all my contacts thereafter.

But if I were you, I would:

  1. Back up your contacts and important information regularly.

  2. Use multiple platforms to diversify your online presence.

  3. Build up your own email list (via newsletters is a great way to start).

  4. Keep records of your interactions and contributions.

  5. Advocate for better user support and policies (e.g. HITL).

In the end…

My LinkedIn experience is a wake-up call, not just for me, but for all micropreneurs. Protect your online presence and push for fairer processes from the platforms we use. I hope you never have to go through what Anfernee and I went through!

But this does remind me of a few articles I wrote in the past about why Notion + UTXOs might help resolve this issue around social media platforms doing what they want with our accounts, and there being no way around it, but us still being able to retain all our own data (see here and here).

Have you faced something similar? Share your stories, and let's work together for change!

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