What is LinkedIn SWAM and why should you care?

February 20th, 2014 | by Jason Alba |

Have you heard of SWAM?  Let me ruin your day.

SWAM on LinkedIn is “Site-Wide Automated Moderating.”   Fancy name, huh?  Here’s what it means.  If one LinkedIn Group admin decides you need to be “blocked and deleted,” then you just lost ability to participate in Group discussions EVERYWHERE on LinkedIn’s Group.

That’s right, one moderator, who might be in a bad mood, have an itchy trigger finger, or just have made a mistake and meant to block someone else, will just have completely taken away your ability to communicate in other Groups in LinkedIn.

I don’t know why one person would have that much authority and power over you.  This means that going into a Group is putting yourself at risk for taking away most of your power in LinkedIn.

I say “most of your power” because since LinkedIn removed LinkedIn Answers, there really isn’t that much more to do, proactively, to get your brand, name, thoughts, etc. out there.  Yes, you can use Status, but that doesn’t go to the 800,000 members of the HR Group… people who are your peers.  You can supposedly write an influencer-like post (I can’t yet), but who knows who will be able to see that, and will anyone actually read those in a few months, when it is flooded with crapola from everyone in the world?

SWAMing is a huge policy blunder, in my opinion.  I’m becoming more convinced that whoever comes up with this stuff at LinkedIn must not use LinkedIn, or understand their customer.  Oh, I’m sure they are concerned about spam and all the bad-guy stuff, but the policy stuff that comes out of LinkedIn.

You can read more about this SWAM issue on Forbes: LinkedIn Ruckus Continues As Victims Of Site-Wide Moderation Defect

Let me say, I have had plenty of bad-guy spammers try and join my network or my Group.  And I want them to be booted out… especially the fake accounts.  But I don’t think that I, a member of LinkedIn, and a Group moderator, should be the final power and decision-maker in taking away their account or Group contributions, at the “site-wide” level.  That should be decided by LinkedIn staff, based on IP addresses, patterns, etc.

  1. 3 Responses to “What is LinkedIn SWAM and why should you care?”

  2. By Mike Sheehan on Feb 24, 2014 | Reply

    After being very successfully involved on Linkedin for over 4 years I have been hit by SWAM. It has been very disruptive. I agree that someone might hit that button and not realize the far reaching effects.
    I have reached out to Linkedin and the best I get is that we have to protect the privacey of the accusatory member.
    They tell you that “in a few weeks” everything will be back to normal. They will let me out of the corner.
    Not true – it’s been over three weeks – nothing changed.
    I have even reached out to moderators to check my settings. They tell me the settings are still the same but when I post to the group I go to review.
    My opinion is that this needs to be changed. I have cancelled my membership.
    Never fear I’ve just gone to G+.

  3. By Bill Kerschbaum on Mar 4, 2014 | Reply

    I was just recently at the receiving end of this. Very frustrating, and LI’s info for resolving the issue wasn’t very helpful either. It wasn’t clear whether I had to go to every group moderator and ask to have my posting permissions reactivated, or go to the moderator who set the block in the first place. If it was the latter, I have no idea who to go to, since I didn’t post anything unusual in any of my groups.

  4. By Jason Alba on Mar 4, 2014 | Reply

    I’ve wondered what would happen if you SWAM a moderator of another group… would that moderator be blocked from their own group?

    Clunky design that impacts people very negatively :(

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