Updated 7:50 pm August 22. See end of post.
Last week, I created a LinkedIn account. I’ve resisted that for a long time, because as my LinkedIn headline said…
I want nothing from you. Obviously, I’m doing this wrong.
And as I explained in my profile…
I’m not selling or buying anything. I guess I just want to meet other journalists or journalism consumers who feel slightly out of phase with the world like I do.
We’ll need to help each other, because if you’re like me, LinkedIn is a scary clique of desperate people who write things like this (which is real, by the way): “Process innovator with a track record of developing value added tools and procedure that improve service quality.”
I don’t understand what that means. I hope I never have to.
Last Thursday, only two days after I posted that, I couldn’t log in. Instead of my profile…
…a stark white screen said, “You account has been restricted” because “we detected behavior that violates our terms of service.”
Obviously, I never read those terms of service. I’m an American.
Like most Americans, I don’t read anything boring until I absolutely have to. So way too late, I reviewed LinkedIn’s User Agreement. But it didn’t really help.
Was I “being dishonest, abusive or discriminatory”? Did I “post inaccurate, defamatory obscene, shocking, hateful, threatening or otherwise inappropriate content”?
I didn’t think so, but I wasn’t sure. So I asked.
How to appeal a LinkedIn ban
I clicked the big blue box underneath, “Your account has been restricted” and verified I was me. Then I was prompted to “Please explain why you believe that the account restriction is in error.”
I smiled at that. How can I explain to LinkedIn what LinkedIn hasn’t explained to me?
So I replied, “I can no longer log on. I don’t know why. No information was provided me.”
Yesterday, I got this reply from a “Linkedin Safety Operations Support Specialist.” His name is, and I’m not making this up, Jarvis. No last name.
If I wasn’t for getting booted for no stated reason, I’d give LinkedIn credit for being funny. But I bet there’s actually a humorless “Linkedin Safety Operations Support Specialist” with that name.
Anyway, Jarvis replied to me, in total…
Due to multiple User Agreement violations and the nature of the inappropriate content associated with these violations, this account has been permanently restricted.
So I replied…
Hey Jarvis, could you be a little more specific? What did I do that was “inappropriate”? And by “permanently restricted,” do you mean I can’t ever get back on LinkedIn? Like, ever? Even if I apologize and promise never to do again whatever it is I did?
Talk about the punishment not fitting the crime. Anyway, I’m still waiting to her back from Jarvis. In the meantime…
Here’s the funny part
For the past four years, I’ve had this LinkedIn profile…
…which is totally made up. It violates multiple parts of LinkedIn’s terms of service.
1. “Use your real name on your profile.” If Jarvis can’t figure out that Miranda Reitz is a fake name, he has no intelligence, real or artificial.
2. “Use an image that is not your likeness or a head-shot photo for your profile.” The profile photo is from an old clip-art book I found in the trash at the first newspaper job.
3. “Provide accurate information to us and keep it updated.” I listed Miranda’s occupation as “infotainer,” which isn’t a real thing. Also: I don’t live in Boca Raton, I don’t take classes at Florida Atlantic University, and I’ve never updated the profile. Not once since 2013.
What happens next
I created that fake LinkedIn account so I could keep tabs on some pals who have since drifted away. Now that I’ve been “permanently restricted,” I got nothing to lose. So I want to go out in style.
Now, I hate trolls. But I have no ethical problem being a gnat in the face of a multinational corporation with 6,000 employees in 30 cities around the globe and annual revenue of more than $100 million.
So if anyone has ideas for how I can further offend LinkedIn in my fake profile, I’m all ears. I only got one shot at this before I hear from Jarvis again.
Jarvis emailed me back. He’s a (man?) of few words…
Under section 8 of the User Agreement, you agree that you won’t misrepresent your identity or post inaccurate profile information.
I replied at 7:50 pm…
I’m not trying to be difficult, so can you tell me: How did I misrepresent myself? What was inaccurate? Can you be specific? And if I fix it, there’s no coming back from that? It’s a mortal sin? Also, is your name really Jarvis?