Is your LinkedIn account restricted?
You’re not alone! A look through the comments of this post will give you an idea as to the issues that others like you are facing.
In fact, I often get emails from readers of this blog demanding that I give them access back to their LinkedIn account and remove all restrictions. For the sake of transparency, I am not in any way related to LinkedIn, and I will tell them what I tell you: Only LinkedIn Customer Service can remove any restrictions placed on your account.
That being said, let’s take a look at some common scenarios as to why your LinkedIn account might be restricted in the first place and what you can do to remove those restrictions.
After reading through this article, pay close attention to the comments at the end of this article to see if there is someone similar to you who has had their issue solved. Note that I wrote this article long before the emergence of LinkedIn automation tools, so if you are using those tools, your issues fall into the same boat as to what I originally wrote about. If you used a LinkedIn automation tool and found your account restricted, just know that it will take some convincing of LinkedIn to help you get your account back, as social networks are getting better and better at spotting inauthentic and fake activity on their networks and may consider using these services worthy of a suspicious activity tag…
Why is My LinkedIn Account Restricted?
While there are many reasons why your LinkedIn account might be restricted, let’s go over the major ones that LinkedIn has announced here.
Unless you are being overly abrasive with your content, like sharing pornographic content or abusive messages, chances are this is not the reason why your account is restricted, although it deserves explanation.
LinkedIn has its own Community Policies pictured above which clearly spell out that they want LinkedIn to remain being a safe, trustworthy, and professional site. Therefore, as long as you post “normal” content and avoid any illegal activity or questionable behavior, you shouldn’t have any issues here.
Profile violations are an extension of the content violations. So not only can you not publish content which goes against the community guidelines, you also can’t include inappropriate content as part of your LinkedIn profile, whether in textual form or image (profile photo, cover photo, etc.).
It goes without saying that you should only post accurate information about yourself on LinkedIn. Should you post false information or try to impersonate someone on the business-based social network, your account will be restricted.
Automated Tools Violations
LinkedIn does not allow any automated activity on its platform, as these are considered unreliable tools. This is probably the most common type of restriction, but I have also been given a temporary restriction despite not using automated tools simply because I was too active and exceeded weekly limits.
And I am not alone.
The Unwritten “Too Active” Violations
A friend in my network who generally keeps a low profile on LinkedIn and only has a few hundred connections had a temporary account restriction for this very same reason: being too active.
If you are not careful, your account may be suspended, as well. Here’s how:
The official response given by LinkedIn on why my friend’s account was suddenly suspended was:
“We have recently noticed a large number of page searches and profile views through your LinkedIn account. We are aware that you may be using an automated or manual process to systematically view LinkedIn web pages.
The information within LinkedIn is provided by our users for usage on the site only. In order to protect user privacy, our User Agreement prohibits using:
1. Automated or manual means to view an excessively high number of profiles or mini-profiles.
2. Automated means to run searches to collect or store data obtained from our site.”
The funny thing is that my friend was not doing any of the above; they were merely taking advantage of the LinkedIn feature to tag your connections (now only available in LinkedIn Sales Navigator ) by looking at the different options that existed and making sure that all connections had the proper tags on them. Sure, it generated a lot of clicks, but it obviously was not even closely related to the suspicious activity that this person was accused to have been doing in the initial restriction.
For the record, I had a similar situation, in that I was looking at a large number of profiles of my client’s employees in preparation for a social selling training, looking for good LinkedIn profile examples to share.
Why do I bring all of this up?
- Anybody who is too “active” and generates a lot of clicks may have their LinkedIn account restricted with no warning. If you want to do some research on the social networking site, do it over a period of several days to spread out the clicks. As you can see from the case study above, the number of clicks you generate are being monitored and not what specific activity you are doing, so any of the millions of profiles on the site could be considered guilty of this by LinkedIn support.
- You also want to avoid a suspension of your account for another important reason: it took customer service nearly two weeks to get back to my friend with their initial response. That’s right: for two weeks, my friend was in limbo and couldn’t access their account. Can you live without access to your account for two weeks? I’d go crazy! And the potential opportunity loss for business is an issue that your company may have to face if you are getting business leads and potential connections from LinkedIn.
- This is a case where LinkedIn was being paranoid and automatically slapping the wrist of an innocent user. Who knows what could happen to you? Make sure you get into the habit of backing up your LinkedIn connections for these types of worst case scenarios.
Other Unwritten Violations
There are apparently other reasons why accounts are banned or restricted. As I was writing this blog post, one of my blog readers sent in:
“Neal, I am not sure how you were able to reach customer service at Linkedin. I have sent no less than 3 emails to customer service from my primary email address in the last 72 hours because they have restricted my account based on the number of people who have viewed my profile in the last week. This all occurred because I created a new group that has generated a lot of interest and is adding members every day at a high rate. The one phone number found…for customer service just leads to voicemail. So to my group members it appears that I have just abandoned the group and to others who have sent me email it looks as though I am not responding.”
In addition, LinkedIn will restrict your account for the following:
- If you send out too many requests per week and receive too many “I Don’t Know” responses, LinkedIn will restrict you by asking you to enter an email address to whoever you want to connect to going forward. While this is obviously not an example of inappropriate content, LinkedIn does consider it a violation of site rules.
How to Resolve LinkedIn Account Restrictions
Now that you know why your LinkedIn account might be restricted – and how to avoid those restrictions in the future – let’s look at how we can go about getting access back to your account.
Follow the Onscreen Prompts
For certain violations, such as content-related issues, you will get an on-screen prompt the next time you log in, where you have the ability to ask LinkedIn to reconsider their decision, after which they will inform you of the final outcome.
Verify Your Identity
In other cases, such as profile-related or identity-related, you will first be asked to verify your identity. This includes cases where your profile has been hacked. Once again, go through the procedure to prove you are the real person behind the account, and hopefully you will be back on LinkedIn soon and the fake identity quashed.
Automated Account Restrictions
LinkedIn does not take the use of automated tools lightly, and your account might be temporarily or permanently disabled as a result. LinkedIn has a whole section on what to expect here, but from what I have heard, resetting your password will give you a clean slate and an opportunity to show that you are NOT using automated software, regardless of the number of invitations per week you are sending, or invitation requests you are receiving.
LinkedIn Connection Requests Restriction
Somewhat related to the popularity of LinkedIn automated tools is the restriction of connection requests that you can send out per week, which is currently at around 100 connection requests. There is no way around this restriction. Wait until the following week to send out more connection request messages as a basic rule.
The “I Don’t Know” Restriction
Stop sending invites for a while and over the course of time, this restriction should fade away. At the same time, make sure that all of your pending invitations are deleted. (If you don’t know how to do that, click here for LinkedIn’s instructions.) Going forward, tone down your invitations both in terms of frequency but also in personalizing each invite and making sure that you have a number of mutual connections with them. The more you have, the higher your response rate, and the less you risk being accused of suspicious behavior and facing account suspension.
Further Reading: What is a LinkedIn IDK? And Why Should I Care?
Other Advice to Avoid LinkedIn Restrictions
If you’ve read this far and you want to do your best to avoid future restrictions, read on!
Consider Investing in LinkedIn Premium
Some of the restrictions LinkedIn places, such as the number of searches you can do each month, are used to monetize their platform and get you to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium. If you want to strategically leverage LinkedIn to drive six figures or greater revenue for your company, I highly recommend you consider purchasing LinkedIn Premium. It not only gives you more searches and other benefits, but it also shows LinkedIn that you are using LinkedIn for work and thus they can expect increased app activity from you, thus decreasing the chance of future restrictions, even in the face of an uptick in connection request messages. Doing so can help maintain conversion rates and continue to develop quality interactions.
Further Reading: LinkedIn Premium Is Worth It. Here’s Why.
Add Value to the LinkedIn Ecosystem
Although it is devoted to businesses, LinkedIn is still at its heart a social media platform looking for high-quality content. That means that in order to avoid being accused of suspicious behavior or risking a suspension, you should regularly share content and engage with the relevant content others are putting on LinkedIn. Being a quiet observer is not necessarily considered abusive behavior by LinkedIn support, but it does lend more credence to the idea that your account is not an ideal member of LinkedIn. You are on a social media platform–engage whenever you can!
Tone Down Your LinkedIn Activity
As mentioned above, there are weekly limits, and ignoring activity level limits could land you with a permanent restriction due to suspicious behavior. From connection request messages to general searches, make sure you are not behaving in a way that suggests the use of chrome-based tools like automation tools to peruse the site. Being too active outside of engaging with content and displaying your own in a given period of time can signal to moderators that your account is engaging in behavior that is not considered ideal for LinkedIn users.
Avoid Using LinkedIn Automation Tools
From sending too many requests per day, to excessive behavior like searching LinkedIn all day, LinkedIn pays close attention to what it considers standard human behavior and what it considers likely to be artificial intelligence or an automation tool. Using these tools–considered unreliable tools by LinkedIn– is one of the surest ways to make sure you are banned, restricted, or suspended. Any kind of tool, from a generation tool to a farming tool is considered problematic. LinkedIn is great for forging beneficial connections, but is only useful if rules are adhered to and automation software and artificial intelligence are avoided.
Only Send Invites to Those With Lots of Mutual Connections and Personalize Them
Creating happy connections is exciting, but only send personalized messages to people who have a high chance of accepting, like 1st level connections. Using the number of mutual connections you have as a guide is an excellent metric, as it makes sure you will not be accused of inappropriate behaviors, and dramatically lessens the risk of restriction.
Further Reading: Top 10 Ways How to Get More Connections on LinkedIn
I am hoping this clarifies restricted accounts for you, but if you have a scenario not covered above, please drop your experience in the comments. While you’re there, read the comments for the experiences of our readers and feel free to chime in. If you’re trying to ping LinkedIn, check out my post on how to send a complaint to LinkedIn.
Hero photo by Rendy Novantino on Unsplash
LinkedIn Account Restricted FAQs
If your LinkedIn gets restricted, you can submit an appeal to LinkedIn support by following the on-screen message you will see when you try to log in to the site. Alternatively, you can get help from the FAQs and links in LinkedIn Help or message them through Contact Us page. To avoid future restrictions, always make sure to comply with LinkedIn’s user agreement and Professional Community Policies.
There are ways to bypass these restrictions and expand your reach. One method is to join LinkedIn groups, which allow you to connect and interact with like-minded individuals in your industry. Additionally, you can leverage LinkedIn’s advanced search filters to find and connect with potential clients or collaborators. Another strategy is to regularly engage with your network by posting valuable content or commenting on others’ posts.
While the duration of a LinkedIn restriction varies depending on the specific situation, it is typically temporary and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If you believe your account has been restricted in error or if you have any questions about your account status, it is recommended that you reach out to LinkedIn’s support team for further assistance.
When your account is restricted, it means you’ve done something against LinkedIn User Agreement or Professional Community Policies that lead to suspension of your account. When your account is restricted, you will typically see an error message when you log in saying that they have restricted your account temporarily.
While there could be a number of reasons why LinkedIn is not allowing you to connect with someone, some common explanations include not having a complete profile, having account restrictions due to LinkedIn’s anti-spam policy, or the other person may have their settings configured to only accept invitations from certain individuals. If you want to resolve this issue, it’s important to ensure that your profile is complete and accurate, as well as reaching out to the other person to see if they can give you permission to connect.