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Uncensoring Syria – LinkedIn changes its mind

April 19th, 2009 · 10 Comments · Business, Politics

picture-12Last week, we reported that social networking site LinkedIn had deleted the accounts of all Syrian users. It blamed the US sanctions.

That led to claims of censorship, and a campaign to get LinkedIn to change its mind. After all, the sanctions don’t apply to websites – just look at Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Campaigner Jillian York led the protests, and was soon spotted by a LinkedIn employee (called Kluo) on Twitter.

jillianlinkedinThe head of LinkedIn’s press office called Jillian, and insisted the ban on Syrian users was just human error – and it shouldn’t have happened. They said they would address the issue last night, and restore service to Syrian users very soon.

Jillian is delighted. She told newsfromsyria.com:

“The fact that LinkedIn chose to fix the ‘error’ so quickly shows the true power of social networking: We wrote, we complained, and they heard us. I’m just glad to see Syrian user accounts restored.”

But what about the terse email send to Anas telling him his account was being deleted because of his nationality? Well, LinkedIn says it wants to phone him to personally apologise.

A happy ending.

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Syria Sanctioned: LinkedIn Blocks Syrian Accounts // Apr 20, 2009 at 4.49 am

    […] Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan.”  In response to mass user uproar on sites such as Twitter, Huffington Post and Global Voices, LinkedIn has apologized and agreed to restore access to Syrian […]

  • 2 Maysaloon // Apr 20, 2009 at 4.20 pm

    Anas is only a native, it’s something else when the white woman complains…

  • 3 Anarchist Queer // Apr 20, 2009 at 5.51 pm

    Maysaloon is precisely right on this one.

  • 4 Jillian C. York // Apr 20, 2009 at 6.09 pm

    Wassim, seriously? It WAS Anas’s complaints that got the problem fixed; it was because Kay Luo was following me on Twitter (no idea if Anas is on Twitter, and if so, he probably tweets in Arabic, a language she doesn’t read) that LinkedIn became aware of the situation.

  • 5 Anas // Apr 20, 2009 at 6.27 pm

    dudes, conspiracy theories are fun just like a silent Chaplin movie.. and just as outdated.

    The reason LinkedIn responded was that they were facing a growing twitter and blog campaign that established contact with them alongside detailed email correspondence with corporate executives. Fact.

    They Contacted the guy bedind Arab Crunch, a Saudi, non-white, non-Christian man!

    Jillian did a great job spearheading and amplifying the campaign, but the response would still have been the same had the initiative been taken by someone else.

    Quit sobbing, I’m talking to Anarchista as well.

  • 6 Anas // Apr 20, 2009 at 6.27 pm

    dudes, conspiracy theories are fun just like a silent Chaplin movie.. and just as outdated.

    The reason LinkedIn responded was that they were facing a growing twitter and blog campaign that established contact with them alongside detailed email correspondence with corporate executives. Fact.

    They Contacted the guy bedind Arab Crunch, a Saudi, non-white, non-Christian man!

    Jillian did a great job spearheading and amplifying the campaign, but the response would still have been the same had the initiave been taken by someone else.

    Quit sobbing, I’m talking to Anarchista as well.

  • 7 Maysaloon // Apr 21, 2009 at 12.56 pm

    Hi Jillian,
    Anas had already had a stern response from Linked In, the fact that somebody had read what you had written on his experience doesn’t negate that fact. I don’t mean this is a slight to you in any way of course.

  • 8 Jillian C. York // Apr 21, 2009 at 2.00 pm

    Maysaloon,

    I’ve spoken to Anas personally about this, and as to the stern response, my understanding is that the employee who sent it was not qualified nor instructed to do so.

    Now sure, we could believe that’s a lie, and that LinkedIn has some personal agenda, but more than likely they want the customers. They’re not an evil organization, and they’re not the evil US government.

    Jillian

  • 9 Jillian C. York // Apr 21, 2009 at 2.16 pm

    Ugh, just re-read what you wrote; clearly I read it incorrectly before (though my comments stand).

    Yes, someone else read what I wrote about Anas’s experience, but my point is that I don’t believe they listened because of who I am so much as because of how I harnessed social media and quickly riled people up over it. To suggest it was simply because of my skin color/nationality is to demean my abilities.

  • 10 LinkedIn Blocks Syrian Accounts | MISEHA // Oct 11, 2009 at 2.28 pm

    […] Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan.”  In response to mass user uproar on sites such as Twitter, Huffington Post and Global Voices, LinkedIn has apologized and agreed to restore access to Syrian […]

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