Friday, January 28, 2011

Is LinkedIn Blocking References to Egypt? And Why?

This is interesting: My daughter is quoted in an article that appeared in this morning’s local paper, “Augustana College band plays on amid turmoil in Egypt,” which, naturally enough, I decided to share with various friends and acquaintances. I posted a link to the article on Facebook and on Twitter with no problem, but when I attempted to share it on LinkedIn, I got this message—repeatedly, on several attempts over the course of a half-hour or so:

So I went on about my business, and later returned to LinkedIn. Same results. But in reading articles online about the Egyptian government’s cutting off internet and cellphone service (which our daughter notified us about this morning, calling from a pay phone in Cairo), something suddenly crossed my suspicious little mind. 

I went back to LinkedIn and tried the post again. Same “something unexpected happened” non-result.

Then I attempted to post a link to a New York Times editorial about the curious case of the Arthur Conan Doyle estate authorizing a new Sherlock Holmes novel (“The Authorized Sleuth,” if you must know;), and seconds later there was the link, in all its glory, on my LinkedIn page or wall or feed or whatever they want to call it.

So I tried the Augustana Band link again...and “something unexpected happened” again. Only by now it wasn’t unexpected, at least not by me.

One hates to be the Boy Who Cried “Censorship!”—but one does come away with the distinct impression that the minds behind LinkedIn have decided to block the posting of items that pertain to or even merely mention Egypt, regardless of said items’ content. Since I habitually cross-post these little blog items to LinkedIn, it will be interesting to see if that link is allowed.

I may or may not try the Augie Band link again, omitting “Egypt” from the headline, and see if that passes LinkedIn’s watchdogs.

If indeed LinkedIn is practicing this sort of mindless, blanket censoring of its members’ posts, I predict I will be utilizing it a great deal less than has been my habit in the recent past. Which I’m sure must strike fear into its corporate heart. But if in fact that’s what’s going on here, it points to a corporate culture that I find completely odious, not to mention stupid, and one with which I would chose not to associate.

Stay tuned.

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