You know me. My mission is to connect, discover and inspire people. It’s why I’m a storyteller, why I became a filmmaker. It’s why I help brands with [what they call] “marketing.” It’s also why I started my podcast LIFT.

LIFT is about uncovering inspiring stories and business/life lessons from beautiful human beings. I’m early in this journey but having oh-so-much-fun!

Michaela Jones from Destiny Rescue was one of my guests. Here’s that episode:

Listen on Spotify

Listen on YouTube

She’s thoughtful, eloquent and passionate about how Destiny Rescue rescues children from sex trafficking. The episode captures an inspiring story of a growing grassroots movement, of children creating freedom plans and being empowered to continue their education or find employment.

I tried to share this story on LinkedIn but failed. That’s hugely disappointing for me because I think it is important to be able to responsibly tell stories like this on a platform like LinkedIn.

In this article, I’m documenting and sharing this journey of getting censored to help others appreciate the nuances, limits and pitfalls of LinkedIn.

The first post and “quiet” censorship

Here’s the “contentious” post.

Screenshot of Manesh Nesaratnams contentious LinkedIn post

My posts usually receive an interaction within the first 15-30 minutes. At the end of the first day, I usually have at least ~400 impressions. This grows to about 1-2k impressions by the end of 2 weeks.

My first (and favourite) post about Destiny Rescue received only 12 impressions on the first day. I sensed something wasn’t right but was going through a busy patch and didn’t act on it.

About a week later, Michaela reached out and asked me when I was going to publish the post. This was a red flag. She’s active on LinkedIn and I had tagged her in the post. The fact that she didn’t get a notification bothered me.

I hopped onto LinkedIn and found the post on my feed. It was still up. Bizarrely, it still only had 12 impressions. I got my partner to log in from her account and tried to find the post on my feed – she couldn’t see!

What upset me was that LinkedIn “pretended” that my post was live. They could and should have sent me a notification. But none came. I was “quiet cancelled.”

AI / Algo Policing

I tried to work out why I was getting censored. What policy had I breached?

I found this page on Professional Community Policies. One of the points clearly outlined is “Do not share material depicting the exploitation of children.” I hadn’t done this, but perhaps this was why I initially got censored? I’m guessing that LinkedIn’s algorithm was automatically “triggered” by certain keywords (you can see what I’ve hash-tagged) within my post.

Fair enough. I agree and see the need for a policy like this and I’m glad the AI filters caught it.

Thankfully LinkedIn has an appeal process. I raised a ticket and was optimistic that this would soon be resolved.

Mystery Closures, More Censorship and an Unhelpful Apology

The LinkedIn Member Safety and Recovery Consultant told me this would take some time to resolve.

5 days into the process, before we reached any resolution or even understanding of what happened, the case was marked as “closed”. This happened 4 times across the entire process! They also sent me the same canned / templated message twice – about 10 days apart!

Along the way, I decided it was time to creatively circumnavigate the censors with some creative writing. After all, I’ve got roots in doing political satire while living under a police state.

This was my 2nd censored attempt.

Screenshot of Manesh Nesaratnams contentious LinkedIn post second part
Screenshot of Manesh Nesaratnams contentious LinkedIn post second three

The same quiet cancelling was obviously happening – the impression count to that post remains <30 to this day. But I digress from the main plot.

Finally, 11 days in, LinkedIn confirmed that it was a mistake and apologised for it.

They told me that my content was back up on LinkedIn (publicly viewable). And it is. But it’s too late! Because of how the algorithm works, the post is now >2 weeks old not actively appearing in feeds. The view count still only sits at about ~100 impressions.

Also, the ban was still firmly in place for the second post. While the LinkedIn human had apologised, the LinkedIn AI wasn’t on board with the decision!!

Screenshot of LinkedIn apology letter from customer support

Third Time Lucky…? No.

Post apology and re-instatement, I made a third attempt. I owe it to Michaela, Destiny Rescue and the amazing work they do!

This time I censored myself even further. No dangerous or suspicious keywords. Cold, clean. I even worked it into Easter.

Screenshot of Manesh Nesaratnams contentious LinkedIn post part four

I made this third attempt to test a theory. I suspected LinkedIn had also blacklisted the URLs related to the originally blocked post. Remember, LinkedIn does not allow the posting of shortened URLs. (also a good thing). If I tried to post the link again, they would stop me.

This turned out to be true. My third post has a grand total of ~5 impressions. I think it’s just me viewing it!

There’s room for improvement, LinkedIn!

I love that LinkedIn has policies in place to protect its users. But it definitely has a way to go with how they are enforced. It’s an evolving platform and still my favourite social media channel. But here’s how I think they can improve:

  1. Quiet cancelling is not cool. Users that have their posts rejected deserve a notification at the very least.
  2. Allow the appeal process to affect the AI / algorithm. My links shouldn’t have been blacklisted once the post was deemed “safe.”
  3. Allow the reinstated posts to have a “just published” status. It shouldn’t be punished for being wrongfully rejected.

Now, I believe the only way for me to post this same podcast episode is to regenerate the link at the source – in this case YouTube and Anchor (for Spotify). I have yet to try it. Wish me luck!

More importantly, please do me a favour and shout out the amazing work Destiny Rescue is doing – let your community know!

Published On: April 13th, 2023 / Categories: Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media / Tags: /