- LinkedIn has become the social network to turn to for Donald Trump supporters who are being kicked off Facebook and Twitter for false and abusive posts, Buzzfeed News reports.
- Buzzfeed talked to eight pro-Trump users who say that LinkedIn hasn’t been as quick to heavily censor posts that include Obama birther memes, doctored images of Democrat politicians, and aggressive political rhetoric.
- In response, LinkedIn told Business Insider that “while most of our members do not share political content, we do believe that high quality discourse … has a place on our platform.”
Donald Trump supporters who have found their accounts suspended and content flagged on Facebook and Twitter have found a new home for their content to live – LinkedIn.
Buzzfeed News wrote this week on the proliferation of pro-Trump political content shared on the professional networking platform. Buzzfeed interviewed eight LinkedIn users who said they had left Facebook and Twitter, and turned to LinkedIn, where they were actively sharing MAGA memes, misleading messages, and false political claims on LinkedIn.
“Facebook banned me, they hate me. But that’s all good – I started posting on LinkedIn and everybody is following me,” one of the pro-Trump LinkedIn users told Buzzfeed. “I think it’s going to be huge for the president.”
In the face of criticism that hate speech and political misinformation was too easily shared across social media without any policing, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have publicly shared their efforts to halt the spread of such content. Ahead of the midterm elections this week, Facebook had built a “war room” aimed at preventing election-meddling that was prolific on the platform leading for the 2016 presidential election.
A search of “#MAGA” on LinkedIn by Business Insider found a slew of posts that included:
- a meme that implied people who voted for Democrats should be shot.
- a photoshopped image of Obama with the caption, “America’s first non citizen, gay, Muslim, anti-America black thug president.”
- a post calling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “a woman whose IQ is lower than a salamander” and Ilhan Omar “an anti-Semitic America-hater who married her brother.”
- a doctored comic showing Charlie Brown saying, “these days a Democrat is a man who believes he’s a woman, dressed up as a giant v—-a screaming that Trump is not normal.”
Much of this content appears to be in violation of LinkedIn’s professional community policies, which ask members “to behave professionally by not being dishonest or inappropriate,” and bans hate speech that includes “attacking people because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious affiliations, or medical or physical condition.”
Buzzfeed says that some of the posts it pointed out to LinkedIn were removed – including a post with instructions for liberals on how to kills themselves – but that many others remained.
LinkedIn’s policies also states that members “need to be real people” with accurately provided information, but Buzzfeed found several accounts promoting pro-Trump content that had no profile photo and minimal personal information. One person told Buzzfeed they created a LinkedIn profile with fake information after their initial account was suspended.
LinkedIn spokesperson Nicole Leverich told Business Insider in a statement that the platform does not allow for any type of abusive behaviour, which includes “harassment of others or sharing of inaccurate or misleading content.” She also added that conversation regarding politics is allowed on LinkedIn, but most members are on the site for “constructive conversations with other professionals.”
“While most of our members do not share political content, we do believe that high quality discourse that is relevant to our purpose, to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, has a place on our platform,” Leverich wrote in a statement. “Our User Agreement and Professional Community Policies are clear on what is acceptable, what is inappropriate and when we may take action.”