Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy flatly rejected LinkedIn’s claim that his account was locked “in error” this week, in another clash between a conservative politician and Big Tech.
Ramaswamy took to Twitter on Thursday by putting the professional networking platform on blast for claiming he violated the site’s “misinformation, hate speech and violence” policies. The supposedly offending posts slammed President Biden on China and climate change.
Despite multiple appeals over several days, Ramaswamy’s account remained locked, until he made the dust-up public.
The Microsoft-owned company told various news outlets, “We don’t tolerate misinformation, hate speech, violence or any form of abuse on our platform. We understand that this might not be the response you wanted, but we work to apply our policies in a fair and consistent way for all of our members… The account was restricted in error, and it’s now back up.”
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“We have been contacting LinkedIn since May 17 to try and repeal the restriction of Vivek’s profile,” Ramaswmany national press secretary Tricia McLaughlin told Fox News Digital. “They didn’t lift the restriction until *today* only after media started inquiring.”
“Funny how they now say it was in ‘error’ after they repeatedly doubled down on his violation of their policy as ‘misinformation,’ ‘hate speech’ and ‘violence.’ We have the receipts,” she added.
Ramaswamy himself mocked LinkedIn, tweeting, “This wasn’t a technical glitch, it was an intentional act of censorship of my views on Biden, China, and climate change.”
“I challenge [Microsoft CEO] @SatyaNadella to publicly condemn LinkedIn’s censorship, or else this is just the beginning of 2024 election interference,” Ramaswamy tweeted Friday.
In response to multiple inquiries, a spokesperson for LinkedIn told Fox News Digital, “As we’ve said, we made an error and restored the account” but declined to elaborate further.
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Ramaswamy went viral on Thursday with a video outlining what had transpired.
“I was a bit surprised to get an email noting that my LinkedIn account had been shut down,” Ramaswamy said. “And so when I had my team get in touch with LinkedIn, here’s the response that we got… ‘Your account was restricted for sharing content that contains misleading or inaccurate information.'”
The GOP hopeful then listed the alleged “strikes” he received. The first was a video he shared of himself saying, “The CCP is playing the Biden administration like a Chinese mandolin. China has weaponized the woke pandemic to stay one step ahead, and it’s working.” The second was him saying, “If the climate religion was really about climate change, then they’d be worried about shifting oil production from the U.S. to places like Russia and China, yet the climate religion and its apostles in the ESG movement have a very different objective.” The third was him saying, “The climate agenda is a lie. Fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity.”
He also shared screenshots of communications between his team and LinkedIn which showed that he would only be granted access to his account if he agreed to “abide by LinkedIn’s terms and not to violate them again.”
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“This is staggering,” Ramaswamy reacted. “I’m sure that we’re going to get this escalated because I’m a U.S. presidential candidate… but I’m not bringing this about because it’s about me. I’m bringing this up because if they can do it to me, they can really do it to anybody.”
He continued, “These aren’t really the actions of private companies. These are so-called privately held companies or publicly traded private companies that are doing the work of the government through the backdoor, silencing speech that the government would never dare censor, could never censor under the Constitution but use the backdoor of tech companies to get it done instead. That’s even more dangerous than direct government censorship in many ways because it is a hybrid of corporate power and state power together, doing what neither one of them could do on their own.”
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Ramaswamy remains a long shot in the GOP field, averaging about 3% support according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. That puts him above some other declared candidates but far behind former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.