Gregory Wrightstone, executive director of the Virginia-based CO2 Coalition, says its page at LinkedIn was terminated "out of the blue" over the weekend, except there were hints the group was a target.
"We just got a statement at the top that we had violated their terms and conditions of LinkedIn," Wrightstone tells AFN. "There does not appear to be any recourse to this.”
That punishment came after Wrightstone was permanently banned in July and after a second Coalition employee, Darren Nelson, was blocked just weeks ago.
Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook famously block, ban, and hide right-leaning users and their posts, but it may seem odd for LinkedIn to join that left-wing groupthink and punish its own users, too.
Yet the Microsoft-owned company has a pattern of punishing unwelcomed comments, too. In April, it blocked Code of Vets founder Gretchen Smith after she wrote a post that criticized the push for student loan forgiveness. That comment supposedly violated a “hate speech” policy but the account was reinstated and blamed on an error after Smith went public with the censorship.
According to Wrightstone, before he was permanently banned, LinkedIn punished him last year even after denying it would do so.
“Last year, when they banned me for six months, my very last post said, ‘I think I am about to be banned and deplatformed by Linkedin,’” he recalls. “And they took that off, called it false and misleading, and then they banned and deplatformed me."
LinkedIn pulled its service from China in 2021 due to the country's flagrant censorship.