Many LinkedIn users are unaware that they have been caught out by the social network’s crowd-sourced blacklist (See LinkedIn’s Blacklist Censors Thousands of Legitimate Users). Officially known as Site Wide Auto-Moderation but more commonly as SWAM, it prevents you from posting in LinkedIn Groups of which you are already a member.
Here are five common questions on how to know if you have been SWAMed and what you can do to unSWAM yourself.
1. How do I find out if I been SWAMed?
Visit your Groups page, go to several groups in which you are a regular contributor and add comments to the discussions. If your comments do not appear immediately in all the groups then you are most likely to have been SWAMed.
Alternatively you can ask LinkedIn Support if you have been SWAMed and they will tell you directly. LinkedIn requires you to type a question into its Help Forum (anything will do) before you can contact Support.
2. How do people get SWAMed?
LinkedIn users are SWAMed when a moderator uses the Block and Delete button to remove them from a LinkedIn Group to which they belong. This action not only removes them from that group but it places users on moderation in every group of which they are a member.
3. What will happen if I am SWAMed?
If a moderator blocks you from their group, you will automatically be placed on the SWAM blacklist and put into moderation on every group you belong to. You won’t be able to post comments in any LinkedIn Groups unless they are individually approved by the moderators of each group.
This means your comments can sit in a queue for hours or days until a moderator decides to approve them (and of course, sometimes they won’t bother to approve or decide not to publish them). It is impossible to join in “live” discussions.
You can post without moderation in any groups that you join after you have been SWAMed. Unfortunately there is no easy way to find out when you were SWAMed.
4. How do I find out who SWAMed me?
Unless a moderator emails an explanation of why they blocked and deleted you from their group, it is not easy to find out who SWAMed you. LinkedIn Support will refuse to tell you which group was responsible for placing you on the SWAM blacklist.
However, it is possible to work out which group blocked you by a process of elimination. Visit your Groups page and look for the most recent group you visited before you were placed on moderation across all LinkedIn Groups. The group from which you have been blocked will have disappeared from the list.
It is also difficult to contact the moderator of a group to find out why you were blocked unless you established a first level connection with that moderator before joining the group. If not, the moderator will not appear among your contacts once you have been blocked.
5. How do I remove myself from the SWAM blacklist?
There is no appeals process for SWAM. Even if you were put on the blacklist by mistake, LinkedIn will do nothing to reverse it. There is no point appealing to the moderator who placed you on the SWAM blacklist by blocking you from their group as they have no power to reverse SWAM either.
The only way to be removed from moderation in your LinkedIn Groups is to make a request to the moderator of each group to reinstate your permissions. Unfortunately many moderators haven’t heard of SWAM. This LinkedIn support page provides a brief description. This post or the feature article LinkedIn’s Blacklist Snares Thousands of Legitimate Users could help you convince them.