My LinkedIn Account Catastrophe

Social Media • Ryder Cragie • 24th December 2022

TL;DR

LinkedIn mistakenly banned my account because they thought "Ryder Cragie" was a business name. After a long while, they unbanned my account after realising it was a mistake.

Introduction

Well, it's happened again. I'm not having much luck with social media at all! I've had issues with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - what next?!

You may have seen my Tweets regarding the issues I've been having with my LinkedIn accounts recently. Here's the full story for those who are interested.

My Mistake

On the 12th of January 2020, I created a LinkedIn account as I began looking into the world of work. The name on the account was "Ryder Cragie", my first and last name, and the URL was linkedin.com/in/RyderCragie (soon you'll understand why this is important). I began adding information to my profile, adding connections, and everything else you do on LinkedIn. I was having no problems so far and I was enjoying using the service.

I had two-step verification enabled on the account using the authenticator app option. This meant that every time I wanted to log into the account, LinkedIn would prompt me for a code that I had to get from an app installed on my mobile phone. Not long after, I sold my phone and got a new one. Me being an idiot, I forgot to transfer the accounts from the authenticator app on the old phone to my new phone. This caused a problem when I tried to log into my LinkedIn account again.

Of course, when LinkedIn prompted me for the code from the authenticator app, this was when I realised I wasn't going to be able to get into the account easily. There was an option at the bottom of the page to access the account by sending LinkedIn some ID. At the time, I was 16 so I didn't have any valid ID I could send them, so I had no option but to wait until I could get some valid ID.

2 years later on the 7th of January 2022, I decided to create a new LinkedIn account with the URL linkedin.com/in/Ryder-Cragie. This URL had to include a hyphen as the account from 2020 with the non-hyphenated URL still existed while at the same time being inaccessible to me.

LinkedIn's Mistake

Fast forward to the 12th of December 2022, I now have a valid form of ID, so I sent it off to LinkedIn. This was their response:

"Thanks for your patience. We've verified your information and the restriction has been removed from your account.

If you still can't sign in, please let me know and I'll help you get access to your account right away."

Great, right? No - not quite.

I tried to log into the account, and I was still blocked from doing so. However, the message was slightly different this time. I wasn't being asked for an authenticator app code with an option at the bottom of the page to send ID like before. This time it was immediately prompting me to send my ID - again. The message on the webpage was as follows:

"Access to your account has been temporarily restricted.

We take proactive actions to protect you when we detect potential unauthorised access or other activity that doesn't comply with our policies."

So now my account has been banned? How strange! So I replied to the email they previously sent to let them know that I am still unable to access the account.

They confirmed again that I was violating their Terms of Service. I was curious to as why. This was their explanation:

"Thanks for contacting us. We've been reviewing names on accounts and noticed that your name field is in violation of the LinkedIn User Agreement and Professional Community Policies which states that you agree to use your real name (not a company/organisation name) on your account and not use or create multiple LinkedIn accounts.

Instead of creating an account for collaborative use, we recommend creating a LinkedIn Group or Page. This will ensure your compliance with the User Agreement and Professional Community Policies and help prevent future disruptions when using your account. Here's more information on how you can create a collective space on LinkedIn from a personal account:

Due to the nature of this account, we won't be able to remove the restriction and/or merge this account with another one. We encourage you to add and manage a Page and/or group from a valid account. A valid LinkedIn account is an account that has been created under your first and last name. If you don't have a valid account on LinkedIn, you can go here to create one: https://www.linkedin.com/reg/join

Thanks for your cooperation."

This response suggests that they thought my name "Ryder Cragie" was associated with a business. This is not and was not the case. I mentioned this to them to make them aware, and they sent back the same response once again. After asking them multiple times for information about the alleged "business" and explaining to them that I do not have a business, they escalated the case a few times before finally apologising and giving me access to the account. This was their message:

"I'm really sorry about the previous communication and any confusion it may have caused.

We placed a restriction on your account in error. I have removed the restriction and I'm sorry for any inconvenience.

We've now turned two-step verification off for your account so you can access it again without a pin code.

To keep your account safe from unauthorised access, we strongly recommend that you turn two-step verification back on within your account by clicking here: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/544

We also suggest that you reset your password for additional security. You can click this link to reset your password: https://www.linkedin.com/checkpoint/rp/request-password-reset

As per the LinkedIn User Agreement ( User Agreement: https://www.linkedin.com/static?key=user_agreement) and Professional Community Policies creating multiple profiles is not allowed, we kindly ask you to please merge or close your duplicate account with the following steps: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/1275

Please ensure that you've selected the correct account you'd like to keep active when merging accounts. Our current merge process only transfers your connections from one profile to the one you choose to keep active. However, it won't transfer pending invitations or any profile information like recommendations, endorsements, work experience, or group memberships.

Thanks for your patience as we verified your information and once again, I apologise for any confusion and inconvenience."

Once I had access to the old account, I decided I would take a look at the audit logs. It turns out the date the account was restricted was the 24th of November 2021 - exactly 22 months and 12 days after creating the account.

My Message To LinkedIn

I understand that mistakes happen, however if this is a common problem I suggest that you rework your processes and criteria around this particular issue. This was clearly an error in your system and I'm not sure why anyone would think "Ryder Cragie" is a business name. Maybe you're using an automated system? If so, I can tolerate this a bit more. I guess I'll never know.

Conclusion

I requested a copy of my data, downloaded it, and deleted the account. Now I have one account which is associated with both of the URL's mentioned above. Perfect!

I've now learned my lesson - that is to not solely use the authenticator app option for two-step verification (and to not use my real name?).

I hope you found this somewhat interesting. Thanks for reading!

LinkedIn - Ryder Cragie - Apprentice IT Support Technician at Omega PLC.