LinkedIn censorship – can employers censor your profile & personal brand?

WARNING! LinkedIn censorship increased sharply after the Sony Pictures cyber attack

LinkedIn censorship - eagle image

My mother, barely, 5’2” tall, hardly ever yelled. That’s why I’ll never forget the 1960 Census Man.

I was watching black-and-white cartoons after school – 9 or 10 years old – when the doorbell rang.

Nobody moved.

Doorbell rang again.

My mother stormed across the living room and opened the door.

A few minutes later, we heard her yelling, “THAT’S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS!!”

We couldn’t hear what the man was saying – later we found out he was a census taker – we didn’t know what that meant, but obviously something bad.

The ferocity of my mother’s final, high-intensity blast blew the census man backwards.


He disappeared – shell shocked that so much sound could explode from such a small package.

KIDS: “MA! MA! Who was that, MA? What did he say MA?”


Was my mother a lunatic?

If you are under 40 – socially conditioned by our politically correct school system – I understand why you might think my mother was some kind of nut. Wrong! My mother – like most citizens of her Greatest Generation – simply and fiercely defended personal liberty and the right to privacy.

On that afternoon in 1960, my mother vocalized her opinion 10 times louder than the average citizen, but the greatest Supreme Court Justices of the era were standing right behind her: Frankfurter and Brandeis championed my mother’s privacy as well as her “right to be left alone.” William Douglas said, “the Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of the people.”

Those days are long gone.

Privacy is dead and personal freedom is dying

My parents – just average high school graduates – were better informed (and probably better educated) than the typical Ivy League college grad of 2015. They were too smart to blindly trust government bureaucrats – or employers – with their privacy and personal liberty.

The USA of our Founding Fathers – the USA I grew up in – started fading away sometime in the 1990s. First we replaced privacy with “the Web,” thank you for sharing,” and Oprah-like whining on national TV. In 2001, personal freedom was marked for final termination by the terrorist attacks of 9-11.

Unlike my parents, Americans in 2015 don’t care that big government and big business are working in tandem to destroy any vestiges of individual privacy and freedom.

It’s all for our “security,” don’t you know. We’re too distracted by social media, the super bowl, and Kim Kardashian’s rear end to notice that freedom is dying.

LinkedIn Censorship - Ben Franklin vs Big Brother

How about your own privacy? Are you aware your Linkedin profile – the #1 platform for your personal brand – might be headed for strict censorship?

Based on firsthand reports from my own clients, companies are accelerating censorship of LinkedIn profiles. I don’t know if censorship is skyrocketing out of control, but lately it feels like an epidemic – probably driven by bad PR surrounding cyberattacks against Sony Pictures, JP Morgan Chase, Target and so on.

LinkedIn censorship: Here area few of the pros and cons being debated:

  • PRO: The rationale for locking down your LinkedIn profiles goes something like this: Companies must defend themselves from cyber attack. If cyber criminals can identify employees with trusted access (based on a job titles), they can target those individuals for cyberattack and use their accounts to hijack the company’s systems. If we lock down your profile, we’ll all be a little safer.
  • CON: This logic mirrors the Patriot Act, i.e., trading away a significant chunk of your personal freedom for a marginal increase in “security.” Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave. Employers should avoid micro-management of employees and devise a serious cloud solution to defend the network.
  • CON: Just a gentle suggestion from an employer creates enough paranoia force employees to comply like sheep. They’ll censor themselves and forreit control of their #1 career tool. Sooner or later morale takes a hit – employees feel resent Big Brother locking them down.
  • CON: An employee might damage the company’s brand by doing something violent or stupid – and, worse – leave an embarrassing trail on social media. This scenario already happens anyway – with or without social media.
  • CON: For now, LinkedIn is the only game in town. Companies that strictly censor LinkedIn profiles are sentencing their employees to “solitary confinement” for purposes of networking – like the infamous “hole” of Alcatraz. Blacking out an employee’s profile suffocates networking and career opportunities.
  • “RED HERRING”: Some companies have a dirty little “side agenda,” namely, they use “cyber security” as a handy excuse to hide employee profiles and prevent competitors from poaching top talent – especially sales talent.

 A Friendly Warning for Our Dear Employees!

You don’t controlyour LinkedIn platform.

You don’t even control your LinkedIn content.

Building your personal brand is your problem – not ours.

We suggest – as a minimum – you delete all information about our company from your profile. Your voluntary cooperation will help us defend XYZ Corp against cyberattacks. Everybody will be safer thanks to your cooperation.

If you don’t like our suggestion, you’re welcome to leave. Or just ignore it – that’s all up to you.

Or go retro!

Forget LinkedIn and invest in an old-school Rolodex.Order a land line from Verizon. Register your URL and build your own website.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Warmest regards,

Your Security Management Team

PS: Remember to update your Résumé!


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