How to Stay Out of LinkedIn JailMay 26, 2022
Have you been in LinkedIn jail?
I’ve heard of MANY people receiving warnings and temporary restrictions for too many connection invitations, too many profile views, automating outreach, and posting controversial content.
In general, 3 policy violations will result in a permanent restriction, even if the 3 strikes are not the same offense. And LinkedIn is pretty vague about the limits.
But…it’s their playground, and they get to set the rules. They also get to be as vague as they want.
It’s VERY hard to get an account reinstated once you’ve been banned. If you don’t have strong advocates with a large following, it’s going to be virtually impossible.
A LOT of people have landed in LinkedIn jail, in many cases for very minor infractions.
10 reasons LinkedIn Might Restrict Your Account
Here are 10 things that can send you to LinkedIn jail. The list is not exhaustive, but it covers the most common “infractions.”
- Sending too many connection requests. Best estimates are that you can send up to 5 invitations a day on a free account and up to 100 per week with a paid account. If most people are accepting your invitations, that seems to refresh your “quota.” But frankly, it’s not feasible to engage with more than 100 people a week anyway. (I’m challenged to engage with 30 new people per week).
- Viewing too many profiles. I’ve seen quite a few people land in LinkedIn jail for having a lot of tabs open with different profiles. This behavior is similar to what screen-scraper bots do, so be careful to not mimic their behavior. It’s not clear how many tabs you can have open at once, but I’ve often had 10 different profiles open without issue. However, I’m also a Sales Navigator subscriber, and they seem to give premium users a bit more leeway. Here's an article about how many LinkedIn tabs you can keep open safely.
- Automated outreach. Don’t automate your outreach. This is a direct violation of LinkedIn’s terms of service. Plus, it’s spammy and annoying, and it can do serious damage to your personal brand. Here’s an article I wrote for the Openview blog about automation on LinkedIn that you might find helpful.
LinkedIn is cracking down more on automated messages. This article talks about some actions LinkedIn started taking after winning a couple major court battles.
- Outsourcing your LinkedIn outreach. This is also a direct violation of LinkedIn’s terms of service. You’re not permitted to share your login details with anyone. LinkedIn CAN tell when someone is logging into your account from another location.
In addition, the outsourcing provider is likely also using a bot to automate your outreach, doubling your risk. So refer to point #3. Most also send spammy messages. Refer to point #6 below.
I’ve seen people get 3 simultaneous restrictions for 3 different infractions and be permanently banned from LinkedIn before they even realized what was happening.
- Participating in a LinkedIn comment pod. A pod is a group of LinkedIn members who have agreed to systematically engage with each other's posts in a timely manner to create more visibility with the algorithm and get a wider reach for their posts. Some pods are natural and provide useful comments on one another’s posts. Those are fine. But there are others that automate reactions and comments. Those end up creating comment spam that is just intended to manipulate the LinkedIn algorithm. LinkedIn’s recently updated terms of service specifically called out the spammy comments on posts and click-bait posts.
- Sending spammy pitch-slap connection requests and DMs. This is a grey area. Spam is often in the eyes of the recipient. But people on LinkedIn are growing increasingly intolerant of the connect-and-pitch approach that so many salespeople use. If enough people click “ignore” on your connection requests and go on to click “I don’t know this person,” then you can have your account restricted.
It’s unclear how much impact ignored requests have, but I do recommend that you use caution. Don't send spammy messages or salesy connection requests. They don’t work anyway.
LinkedIn updated their spam policies in May 2022 to finally addressing connection request and DM spam. So while this hasn’t resulted in many restrictions in the past, I’m really hopeful that the policy update is an indication that they’re getting ready to start cracking down on the spammers.
Here’s what the new policy says, “Do not spam members or the platform. We don't allow untargeted, irrelevant, obviously unwanted, unauthorized, inappropriately commercial or promotional, or gratuitously repetitive messages or similar content. Do not use our invitation feature to send promotional messages to people you don't know or to otherwise spam people.”
- Treating LinkedIn like a dating app. So I shouldn’t even have to include this. But sadly, there are still weird people who think they can use connection requests and DMs (and sometimes event comments) to solicit people for dates or a romantic encounter. This behavior is a big no-no on LinkedIn, and may get you permanently banned for the very first infraction. If you want to date online, join a dating site.
- Sharing content that violates LinkedIn’s terms of service. According to LinkedIn, “For certain egregious violations of our Professional Community Policies (e.g., child sexual abuse material, terrorism, extremely violent content, egregious sexual harassment), we may permanently restrict your account after a single violation.”
- Harassing people in posts or comments. It’s sad that we need to talk about this, but I do see it trolling, bullying and personal attacks happening on a fairly regular basis. LinkedIn absolutely does not allow bullying or any kind of harassment or personal attacks, shaming, disparagement, or abusive language. Trolling or repetitive negative comments that disrupt conversations on the platform are also not allowed.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site. So please behave professionally. Sometimes, you’ll see a post or comment that rubs you the wrong way. If you’re tempted to make a negative comment, step away from the computer for a few minutes and let yourself cool down. Remember, what you post is available for all to see…including future potential clients and/or employers.
- Sharing misinformation. Don’t share content in a way that you know is, or think may be misleading or inaccurate, including misinformation, disinformation, and deep fakes. Don’t share content intended to interfere with or improperly influence an election or other civic process. Don’t share content that directly contradicts guidance from leading global health organizations and public health authorities. Even if you strongly believe what you’re sharing, LinkedIn won’t allow it. I realize that this may piss some people off. But it’s their playground, so they get to set the rules.
Here’s LinkedIn’s updated policies. I recommend reading it over.
Being Banned from LinkedIn Could be Career-Limiting
Being permanently banned by LinkedIn could be devastating for your future career prospects. LinkedIn is often the first place that clients and potential employers go to check out candidates. What if they can’t find your profile?
Do You Know Someone Who Landed in LinkedIn Jail?
Please Share with Me
I like to stay on top of what behaviors trigger LinkedIn account restrictions, and I share what I'm learning on this blog and on LinkedIn. This helps us all learn how the algorithm is behaving, so we can all do a better job of staying out of LinkedIn jail.
Please share your experiences. If you have had your account restricted or know someone who has, please let me know what happened. If you still have the notification from LinkedIn, please send me a screenshot of the email. The more we know, the better equipped we will all be to avoid this. To share, either click the “contact us” link at the top of this page, or send me a DM on LinkedIn.
Reach out to me. I’m always happy to chat about LinkedIn. The best way to reach me is to send me a connection request or DM on LinkedIn. Here’s my profile link.
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