Social Media 4 Recruitment

LinkedIn SWAM: What it is, and what it means.

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On a Webinar today, LinkedIn unveiled plans to take their current SWAM guidelines to the next level – prompting a wave of backlash from users who believe that they’ve been unfairly targeted. It seems a good time to learn exactly what this means! 

What does SWAM mean? 

SWAM stands for Site Wide Auto Moderation. 

What does SWAM do?

If SWAM is activated on your profile, any messages that you post into groups or company pages will require moderation before they can be seen by other group members. SWAM can also affect your ability to connect with new people, and the visibility of your posts once they are approved.

What’s the issue?

LinkedIn estimate that 65% of the 3 million groups on the site have no active management. That means your post would sit in a moderation forever. The true number of groups with no active managers is thought to be much higher, but with LinkedIn planning on making groups a paid feature, being coy about this suits them better.

For our purposes, this means that when we post outreach or job discussions, they will simply never been seen. Even in groups which do have an active manager, a post requiring approval is much more likely to be deleted than one which posts automatically, especially if it contains a link that sends the group member away from the group, which many of our posts will.

LinkedIn recommends that group managers clear the pending posts “at least once every six months”, which means that jobs are likely to have expired, anyway.

How does a profile become SWAM’d?

A profile now only needs to be “blocked and deleted” from one group for SWAM to take effect. LinkedIn have placed a warning under this setting to alert people to it’s meaning, but it is still the easiest way to delete all pending discussions from a specific group member, and prevent them from rejoining the group.

Group members have the options to delete and block and delete on every group post. 

The warning from LinkedIn looks like this: 


How does a profile become un-SWAM’d?

There is currently no easy way for a profile to become un-SWAM’d. LinkedIn will not change the setting manually, under any circumstances. They advise that affected profiles review their behaviour in groups, and then manually contact the management of individual groups to have their settings changed. Manually changing a group member’s permissions is labour-intensive, and requires a group to have an active manager. 

Avoiding SWAM

LinkedIn has offered some advice on how to avoid having your profile SWAM’d.

  • Only post into highly relevant groups.
  • Don’t multi-post the same or similar messages into many groups. LinkedIn’s algorithms will automatically flag a message to the group owner if more than a certain percentage of the message has been posted into more than one group. The amount that needs to be different is kept secret to keep the system fair, but 60% is the most commonly quoted figure.
  • Avoid linking away from LinkedIn. Messages containing a link are 4 times more likely to be considered promotional, and deleted.
  • Read the group rules before you post. Some groups will have no rules, and some have huge rule documents, but the only way to ensure that you are not breaking the rules is to read and understand them.
  • Offer value. Someone who is genuinely valuable to the group is more likely to be deleted and warned, rather than blocked and deleted.

I hope this has been helpful – send me an email if you’ve got any questions! 


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