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LinkedIn deletes Donald Trump news page

28 Oct, 2016

linked-outUpdate: LinkedIn Restores Newsline Pages

Over the past six months, as a way to promote Newslines’ news aggregation skills, I’ve been building news pages about famous entrepreneurs using LinkedIn’s “Showcase” pages. As Newslines curates news about people, products, and companies, a Showcase page is ideal to “showcase” what we do.

For at least an hour a day, I’ve been finding news for pages about Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Donald TrumpRichard Branson, Mark Cuban and Hillary Clinton and posting it to LinkedIn, where people can follow and read it on their newsfeed. Ultimately as we build up the news on this site, these pages on LinkedIn will link directly to their equivalent page on Newslines itself (eg Donald Trump), but for now they lead to news on other news sites.

I’ve put in hundreds of hours selecting news for the pages. It was hard going at first. Some days I’d only get one or two new subscribers, but I persisted, and over the past few weeks the pages have finally started to get significant traction. We are getting about 50 new followers every day for Elon Musk Newslines, and now have almost 7000 subscribers to his page. Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos have around 3000 subscribers. In fact it’s the first news network of its kind on LinkedIn — you’d think they’d be happy.

Our Donald Trump Newsline didn’t have many followers to begin with, but the page had by far the most engagement, with hundreds of likes and comments every day, so I knew it would take off soon. By contrast, I stopped making news for Hillary Clinton — after six months the page had only has 89 subscribers. Take from that what you will.

Then last night, just as I was excited about a jump in followers for Donald Trump Newslines, I saw that the page had been removed from LinkedIn without explanation.

After two emails, two tweets and 16 hours I finally got a response. LinkedIn Support said that:

This Showcase page was deactivated, not because of content, however, because a Showcase Page allows you to extend your Company Page presence by creating a dedicated child page for those aspects of your business. Interested members can then follow your Showcase Page as they follow any Company Page. This showcase page is better suited for a ‘group’.

I don’t believe their claim that content was not a factor. These pages have been going for six months. Yet only the Donald Trump page was targeted? I don’t think so.

There’s been a lot of discussion about Facebook’s human staff censoring news, and Twitter cutting pro Trump accounts; it appears that LinkedIn is now doing the same. This was a decision made by a human. The fact that only the Donald Trump page was targeted, just as it was about to take off, smacks of censorship. Whichever candidate you support, you should be appalled that any platform picks sides.

Our business is news curation. The best way to “extend our Company page presence” is to show how we curate news. No disrespect meant to LinkedIn group managers, but most groups are shit. I cannot use a group because we specifically curate only the most useful news about a topic. We don’t want anyone to post any old crap to the page. A group does not guarantee the quality of sources, selection of stories, and their timing. I also don’t need the hassle of dealing with spammers. I seriously doubt that LinkedIn would ever tell CNN, The Guardian, or any other news media to use a group instead of a Showcase page.

Instead of trying to shut me down LinkedIn should be ecstatic that I am using their platform to provide multiple curated news timelines about famous entrepreneurs FOR FREE. Instead of being dicks, they should be helping me promote these pages as a way for their users to cut through all the low-quality motivational messages and actually get value from the LinkedIn newsfeed. And instead of censorship, they should be making a commitment to fairness for all.

I await their response and hope to get the page back up. I apologise to the page’s followers and hope that LinkedIn will do the right thing.

Mark Devlin is the founder and CEO of Newslines. Find out more about him here, and more about Newslines here. Click here to follow Mark on Twitter.

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