The LinkedIn accounts for Oxebridge and its founder Christopher Paris are temporarily blocked, effectively shutting down the 175,000-member ISO 9001 LinkedIn Group for the near future.

The shutdown came as a “bot” reported some content published by Oxebridge had violated the site’s terms of service. When a human intervened, it was discovered that no such violation had occurred, and the restrictions were lifted. Now, LinkedIn reports that due to “overwhelming volume,” any move to lift the restriction and un-block the Oxebridge accounts may take up to 5 additional days.

Ironically, LinkedIn has no means of resolving the problem without logging into LinkedIn, which cannot be done so long as the block is in effect.

The problems with bot moderation on LinkedIn have led to a growth in spam, racist content and harassment, especially for women on the platform. The current bot algorithm routinely fails to identify actual violations of the LinkedIn User Agreement, and instead “auto-bans” valid, conforming users.

LinkedIn has seen rapid growth since its purchase by Microsoft, and the moderation tools have not been upgraded to keep pace. Instead, a post that denounces “racism” can be flagged by the bots as being racist, since the algorithm relies on simple keyword searches, without proper context analysis. At the same time, LinkedIn’s “Sales Navigator” service offering allows spammers to pay an extra fee to have unsolicited commercial messages delivered directly into users’ inboxes, bypassing all spam filters. When Sales Navigator messages are reported as spam, LinkedIn’s bots reject the reports automatically.

In 2020 and 2021, multiple whistleblowers were blocked and banned by LinkedIn for reporting on COVID-related PPE scams, as the bots confused their reports with actual scams, or responded to false reports by the scammers themselves. Oxebridge repeatedly reached out to LinkedIn’s legal team to help them identify PPE scams, which often seek to steal millions of dollars from users, but LinkedIn refused to engage.

The ISO 9001 Group will likely be restored immediately once the Oxebridge block is lifted.

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Why we report on these topics

Since 2000, Oxebridge has worked to improve ISO and related certification schemes by identifying problems and then proposing solutions. We report on issues affecting standards users because so few other news outlets do. Our belief is that in order to fix the problems in these schemes, we must first understand the nature and breadth of those problems. Our reporting aims to do just that. Elsewhere on the Oxebridge site you will find White Papers and other articles proposing ideas to correct these problems.

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