LinkedIn – Have you been SWAM’d?

What is SWAM?

SWAM is the acronym for Site Wide Auto Moderation, this is a policy that was introduced by LinkedIn last year without little announcement. The aim of the policy is control spammers posting in groups.

The policy gives moderators the power to block, delete or moderate posts of certain members of their group. You would think this would only apply to said person’s ability to post in that particular group? Wrong! That person’s ability to post in other groups is automatically affected, sometimes the moderators of your other groups are not even aware that some posts are going to their groups moderation queue.

My Situation

I have been a user of LinkedIn since 2009 and have not ever had a problem until a week ago when I discovered I had been SWAM’d! I didn’t know what this was  until I did a bit of investigating with the aid of Google.

I hadn’t been blocked or deleted from a specific group as I was still able to see all of them. I contacted LinkedIn support who were of little help, they were not able to tell me which group had flagged my posts and advised I contact the moderators of all the groups I was a member of to ask them to take me off their moderation list. I did this with no reply from any of them, I was assuming that these moderators actually read their emails and ‘moderated’ their groups. I sent a follow up, more detailed email to a few of the moderators explaining the situation I was in with no response.

All this time I am still getting emails from LinkedIn to trial their paid membership free for a month. I was not interested in taking LinkedIn up on their offer then and am most definitely not interested now.

LinkedIn SWAM Group

In order to gain further knowledge regarding this policy I joined the LinkedIn group SWAM (Site Wide Auto Moderation) Support – A SPAM Free Group. There I found others who are going through the same scenario.

From the group I found out that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the moderator who can flog your posts up, it can be anybody in that group! I also discovered this policy was being unfairly used by other LinkedIn members to get back at members of a group for minor reasons such as not agreeing with their opinions.

LinkedIn has given power to almost anyone to flag a post whether it is considered spam or not affecting that person’s permission level in every group they are a member of, it is done anonymously so it is only through contacting group members, moderators and playing Sherlock Holmes yourself you may or may not discover who flagged your posts or which group you have been blocked and deleted from to begin with.

Even if the initial group does reinstated your access it does not cross over to all the groups. Each group moderator has to physically take you of their moderation list. This is a lot of headache for all those concerned. This was when you were able to contact the moderators. In order to ‘persuade’ LinkedIn members to upgrade their membership unless the moderator is a 1st contact you are no longer able to message them.

I understand the reason for the policy what I do have issue with is the fact that been flagged in one group affects your permission status to post in other groups. It is anonymous so you initially you had no idea you had been SWAM’d. Before a person’s posting permissions for a group are altered that groups moderator should contact said person to inform them that their post that is breaching the rules before sending all their posts to moderation. The other concern is that not all moderators as active within their groups so your post ends up in limbo, running the risk of possibly not even being posted.

Updates

LinkedIn now place a blue box in the group that initially flagged your posts to begin with to let you know which group start the SWAM process.

The latest update regarding SWAM from LinkedIn is that those who have been SWAM’d will be in the moderation stage temporarily, in the majority of cases moderation will be resolved within a few weeks. This doesn’t help many of us who feel they may have been unfairly targeted but it is a step in the right direction. It is a sign that LinkedIn are taking notice of their members.

LinkedIn have already reported financial losses, I doubt the drama surrounding SWAM is going to help their future profits.

PS

I checked this morning and it would appear can post to my groups again. Though it does mean I will be revising my groups.

Through being SWAM’d I have decided to revise the groups I am a part of. It is the not knowing why my posts and who flagged my posts up when I had not done anything different.

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