Instance of the LinkedIn Blue Pencil

September 15, 2016

I love LinkedIn. I love the wonky email inducements to pay. I love the quirky information posted by people who are looking for jobs, consulting gigs, or a digital water cooler.

But what I love most is learning about alleged instances of bowdlerization, restrictions, information black outs, and what might be labeled “censorship.”

Let me be clear. The example comes from an individual with whom I have worked for 12, maybe 15 years. I am reporting this alleged suppression of information to shine some light on what seems to be one more step in restricting factoids and opinions. As I said, I love LinkedIn, which I have described as the social Clippy now that Microsoft will embrace the system in its services. Eager am I. I loved Bob too.

I learned from a person who was a US Marine officer and also a former Central Intelligence Agency professional that a post about the democratic candidate for the presidency was deleted. The author was put in LinkedIn’s dunce cap. You can read the original “Owl” post at this link.

Here’s what I learned. Note that this information came to me from Robert David Steele Vivas, the person who was summarily sent to sit in the corner of the LinkedIn virtual professional meet up on September 13, 2016.

Steele says:

Yesterday I was censored by LinkedIn when I tried to post a story on “The Madness of Queen Hillary.” Coming as it does in the aftermath of Google manipulating both search and spam results in favor of Hillary Clinton, Facebook blocking YouTubes from Alex Jones, and Twitter censoring trending results associated with Hillary Clinton’s health, I have realized that the major social media enterprises have become part of a police state where the opinions of we “unredeemable deplorables” are easily censored.

Intrigued, I ask Steele what happened then? He says:

My three attempts to post were blocked, and then I found that my profile was restricted from posting. I immediately deleted  the account, LinkedIn, while efficient at censoring, is inefficient at elective deletions, so it will take a few days.

How were you told about this action? Steele states:

I was neither warned nor notified. I discovered the censorship when I found that I had lost functionality.

In a time when smart software promotes false news stories, I wanted to know if Steele knew if the action was taken by a human or an artificially smart chunk of code. Steele replies:

Presumably this was a software-driven trigger that closes down commentaries using negative words in association with Hillary Clinton. However I have also noticed that both the Clinton camp and the Israeli lobby have perfected the use of spam reports to silence critics — there is no court of appeals if you are maliciously labeled a spammer. I suspect the censorship resulted from a mix of the two anti-thought measures.

Why I asked myself would LinkedIn censor a member’s essay about a campaign that is dominating the news cycle in just about every form of media I check out? I asked Steele this question, and he writes:

Eric Schmidt is on record as saying that he has the right and the ability to control “hate speech” online. The “digital innovators” in the White House are all committed to Hillary Clinton in part so they can keep their jobs and continue to play with new means of manipulating the information environment. This happened because the White House ignored my 1994 letter calling for major investments in the integrity and security of the cyber domain (and actually allowed NSA to gut what security existed, with the complicity of IT CEOs, for the convenience of our mass surveillance program), and because in the absence of legitimate oversight in the public interest, social media enterprises will trend toward the abuse of their power, much as banks and corporations have in the material world.

Living in rural Kentucky, I am not certain that I am qualified to comment about the actions of smart software and even smarter executives. I have several thoughts I want to capture before I leave this vallis lacrimarum:

  1. LinkedIn has some content which strikes me as subpar. If the outfit is editing and blocking content, the process seems a bit hit and miss. I prefer some substantive, thought provoking information, not recycled marketing jargon.
  2. What other content has been blocked? Is there a Web site or social media stream where instances of censorship are captured and commented upon? I checked several pastesites and drew a blank.
  3. I assume that LinkedIn operates like a mall; that is, the mall owner can run the mall any old way he or she wishes. But how does one evaluate a professional who may be qualified for a job or a consulting gig if the information that professional supplies to LinkedIn is blocked. Doesn’t this distort the picture of the potential hire? What about a felon who creates an identify on LinkedIn and then is revealed by another LinkedIn user. Will LinkedIn block the revelatory information and allow the felon to cruise along with a false background?

As I said, the LinkedIn system is a fave at Beyond Search. I think it is difficult to make an informed decision without having access to information created by a LinkedIn member. What else is missing from the LinkedIn data pool?

Stephen E Arnold, September xx, 2016


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