LinkedIn account restricted: How to avoid it and what to do

July 20, 2022
5 Minutes

Even experienced LinkedIn users sometimes encounter the dreaded "this account is currently restricted" message upon attempting to log in.

Often, this happens because many skip reading LinkedIn's User Agreement and Professional Community Policies. When trying to maximize the platform's capabilities — thinking "why not?" — they find themselves restricted.

Just when you think you've mastered LinkedIn's explicit and implicit rules, they update their policies and algorithms, placing your strategies at risk of being penalized.

Restrictions can happen with LinkedIn premium plans too, even without using automation tools. There are instances where salespeople, working manually, have their accounts restricted due to suspected use of automation.

Despite these uncertainties, there are ways to reduce the likelihood of facing a ban.

Continue reading to learn strategies for prospecting and using automation on LinkedIn without jeopardizing your work or risking account suspension.

Understanding LinkedIn's Enforcement Actions: Warning, Temporary Ban, and Permanent Ban

LinkedIn enforces its policies with varying degrees of action, depending on the violation's severity.

A warning typically precedes any action, especially when nearing the free commercial use limit. However, if this limit is reached too quickly, you might find yourself unable to view non-connection profiles without prior notice.

Understanding LinkedIn's Restrictions: Warnings and Bans

LinkedIn's enforcement varies based on the severity of the violation, typically falling into three categories: warnings, temporary bans, and permanent bans.

When you're close to exceeding the free commercial use limit, LinkedIn issues a warning. If you exceed this limit too quickly, you may face restrictions, such as being unable to view profiles outside your connections, often without prior notice.

For lesser infringements of LinkedIn's rules, you'll usually receive a notice before any further action is taken.

Duration and Consequences of LinkedIn Account Restrictions

Temporary restrictions on LinkedIn accounts can last from a few hours to a week. The exact duration is mentioned in the "your LinkedIn account has been temporarily restricted" message you'll see upon login. This duration often depends on whether it's your first offense or a repeat incident.

Permanent restrictions usually follow multiple temporary bans. While rare, this isn't necessarily irreversible. You can appeal the decision by following instructions provided on your login screen or via the Help Center (details on contacting LinkedIn are provided below). If appeals fail, as a last resort, you might consider using an account belonging to a colleague, family member, or friend. However, it's challenging to circumvent LinkedIn's decision and create a new account.

When an account is temporarily or permanently banned, visitors to your profile will encounter a message stating: "this profile is not available on LinkedIn".

Dealing with a Restricted LinkedIn Account

When your LinkedIn account is temporarily restricted, access is denied while LinkedIn's team reviews the issue. For first-time offenses, the restriction usually lifts within a few hours, but for repeat violations, you could face up to a week's suspension. This action is taken when LinkedIn's algorithms detect activities that breach their User Agreement or Professional Community Policies.

Resolving a Temporary Restriction on LinkedIn

  1. Disconnect Automation Tools: Irrespective of the reason for restriction, it's advisable to disconnect any LinkedIn automation tools from your account and browser. Log out and clear your browser cache.
  2. Verify Your Identity: If prompted, complete any necessary ID verification processes.
  3. Wait Out the Restriction Period: Avoid attempting to create a new account during this period, as this could lead to detection and a permanent ban.
  4. Contact LinkedIn: Reach out to LinkedIn for support and maintain respectful and honest communication throughout the process.

Recovering from a Permanent LinkedIn Ban

If you face a permanent ban, using an account of a colleague, friend, or family member may be more effective than trying to create a new one, as new accounts are often quickly banned again.

Reaching Out to LinkedIn for Restricted Accounts

If your LinkedIn account is restricted, there are a few avenues to contact LinkedIn's Help team:

  1. Appeal Directly: Follow the appeal instructions provided upon logging into your restricted profile.
  2. Contact Form: Utilize LinkedIn's contact form for support inquiries.
  3. Twitter Outreach: Tweet at LinkedIn's Help account, briefly explaining your situation.

If you don't receive a response initially, consider following up after 1-2 months.

Communicating Effectively with LinkedIn

When communicating with LinkedIn, it's important to be honest yet concise. Oversharing, such as volunteering information about automation tools usage (which LinkedIn likely already knows about), isn't necessary. Instead, focus on:

  • Clarifying the specific actions that led to the restriction.
  • Asking for guidance on rectifying the situation.
  • Explaining how the restriction impacts your professional activities.

Remember to keep the communication polite and to the point, which can aid in resolving the issue more effectively.

Steps to Follow After Recovering Your LinkedIn Account

  1. Pause Prospecting Activities: Cease any prospecting activities for a week or two to avoid immediate red flags.
  2. Review LinkedIn Policies: Reacquaint yourself with LinkedIn's User Agreement (particularly section 8 regarding activity-related bans) and the Professional Community Policy (for content-related bans). These documents are not overly lengthy and are straightforward. Understanding these rules can help you steer clear of activities that might lead to another restriction.
  3. Explore Premium Subscriptions: If your restriction was due to excessive profile viewing or invitation sending, consider upgrading to a premium account to benefit from its higher limits.
  4. Temporary Break from Automation Tools: Take at least a week's break from using any automation tools. Post-break, Slowly inscreasing back up the number of actions, from 5 per day and every week then increasing by another 5 until you are at the upper end of your accounts daily send limits (between 20-40 depending on your account type/Linkedin activity history). After a week, use such features in a safe mode for 2-3 months, then gradually return to regular modes. Also, review your automation software and consult their support team for advice on minimizing restriction risks.
  5. Manage Pending Connection Requests: Clear out any pending connection requests you’ve sent that haven’t received a response. A high number of unaddressed invitations can be a factor in account restrictions. With PerfectProspect you can adjust the number of outstanding requests in the settings panel so this is done automatically for you. (Important: once you withdraw an invitation, you won't be able to resend a request to the same user for up to 3 weeks.)

Warm Up Your Account Post-Recovery: Once you regain access to your LinkedIn account, it's important to rebuild your reputation.

A few weeks after regaining access, begin by manually sending about 5-10 connection requests daily. Gradually, you can increase this number to around 100 per week, aligning with the limitations of the free LinkedIn plan.

Initially, focus on connecting with people you share mutual connections with and those who are more likely to accept your invitation (this is explored in more detail elsewhere).

Make your connection requests more effective by personalizing them with notes that explain your interest in connecting.

Engage with the platform by commenting on posts, updating your profile, sharing your own content, and participating in LinkedIn groups to enhance your presence and activity.

Understanding LinkedIn Account Restrictions and How to Avoid Bans

Your LinkedIn account may be restricted for various reasons, including:

  1. Use of Automation Tools or Bot-Like Behavior: While many productivity tools are useful and used responsibly, some can conflict with LinkedIn's goal of maintaining a professional community, leading to issues like spamming and privacy risks. Even when using reputable tools responsibly, you might encounter restrictions due to LinkedIn's efforts to protect its users from these side effects. Additionally, LinkedIn doesn't just target automation tools; it also restricts accounts exhibiting bot-like behavior.
  2. Low Engagement Rate with Connections: A lack of interaction with your connections can be a red flag for LinkedIn, suggesting that your network is not genuinely built.
  3. Spam-Like Messaging: Sending repetitive, irrelevant, or unsolicited messages can lead to your account being marked as spam.
  4. Inappropriate Content: Sharing content that violates LinkedIn's community standards can result in account restrictions.
  5. Hacking and Suspicious Activity: Any indication of account hacking or engaging in activities that raise security concerns can lead to immediate restrictions.

Use of Automation Tools or Bot-Like Behavior:

Preventing LinkedIn Bans:

  • Carefully use automation tools, ensuring they align with LinkedIn's policies.
  • Maintain active and meaningful engagement with your connections.
  • Personalize your messages and avoid sending bulk, generic communications.
  • Share content that is professional, relevant, and appropriate for the LinkedIn community.
  • Secure your account and avoid any activities that could be perceived as hacking or suspicious.

We're constantly adapting to changes in LinkedIn's algorithm to enhance the safety of your prospecting activities on the platform.

Our Linkedin researchers suggest a cautious approach, especially for those on the free LinkedIn plan. Aim to limit your daily LinkedIn activities — including profile visits, invitations, and messages — to around 100 actions per day.

It's also wise to explore other lead generation channels, as LinkedIn's algorithms are frequently updated. These changes can sometimes lead to account restrictions, even if you're following all recommended practices.

If you receive a warning and LinkedIn is crucial for your sales pipeline, consider handling tasks manually. For a while before restarting with automation.

Reason 2: Low Engagement Rate with Connections

If a large percentage of your sent connection requests and messages go unanswered, LinkedIn may label you as a potential spammer, leading to account restrictions. For example, if you send the advised 100 requests per week and about 70% are not accepted, this could raise a red flag.

To ensure account safety, aim to keep your number of weekly connection requests below 100 (the current approximate limit) and maintain an acceptance rate of at least 20%.

Strategies to Improve Engagement Rate:

  • Target Mutual Connections: We would suggest sending invitations to individuals who share mutual connections with you. For instance, if you're targeting a decision-maker at a large company, look for people in your network who work at the same company.
  • Connect with Similar Users: Focus on users who share commonalities with you, such as industry, region, educational background, or previous employers.
  • Engage in Groups and Comments: Utilize LinkedIn groups and comment sections under influencers' posts to discover relevant prospects.
  • Personalize Connection Requests: When sending a connection request, include a note explaining your interest, but avoid starting with a sales pitch, as this often results in lower acceptance rates.
  • Manage Pending Invitations: Regularly withdraw pending invitations, aiming to do this 1-2 times per month and keeping them below 500.
  • Experiment with Different Sending Times: Test various times for sending requests to see when you get the best response rate.
  • Optimize Your Profile: Ensure your profile is complete and presents a professional and credible image.

By following these tips, you can improve your engagement rate on LinkedIn and reduce the risk of account restrictions.

Reason 3: Spam-Like Messaging

Sending identical messages to multiple recipients, which are often ignored or marked as spam, is a common reason for restrictions.

Tips to Avoid Spam-Like Messaging:

  • Build a Quality List: Ensure your messages are targeted to relevant users.
  • Personalize Your Outreach: Aim to make your messages unique and human-like.
  • Limit Daily Messages: Realistically, crafting 100 personalized messages daily is implausible and suspicious. Aim for up to 50 messages per day for a well-warmed account.
  • Apply to InMails: Avoid sending too many InMails in a short period or to many recipients simultaneously. Matthew Ramirez, CEO of Rephrasely, advises sending InMails individually for a more personalized approach and to monitor recipient engagement.

Reason 4: Inappropriate ContentWhile most users don't intentionally share offensive content, some seemingly innocent actions can trigger restrictions:

  • Posting rude comments, even if seemingly reasonable.
  • Offering free downloads, like eBooks.
  • Sharing news that may be considered fake.
  • Offering surveys for free goods.
  • Conducting market research.

Reason 5: Hacking and Suspicious Activity

Account restrictions can also arise from activities that suggest hacking or other security risks. To protect your account, LinkedIn recommends:

  • Changing your password every 3-4 months.
  • Avoiding the use of the same password across multiple platforms.
  • Regularly updating your registered email and phone number.
  • Enabling two-step verification.

Suspicious activities leading to restrictions include:

  • Logging in from different regions in a short time.
  • Forgetting to sign out on a public or office computer.
  • Concurrent logins by you and an assistant or agency from different locations.
  • Conducting mass outreach campaigns at unusual hours, like late at night or on Sundays.

Strategies for Avoiding Account Restrictions on LinkedIn

Account Warm-Up:

For new users, those new to LinkedIn prospecting, or anyone who's recently recovered their LinkedIn account, it's vital to gradually increase activity. This gradual approach helps LinkedIn's algorithms adjust to your activity level without flagging your account for sudden spikes in views, invitations, or messages. For instance, if using GetProspect to save 300 leads, start by saving 100 in regular mode and the rest in scan mode, gradually increasing the number over time.

Considering Account Upgrades:

Upgrading your account can be an effective way to maintain momentum post-restriction. Investing in a Sales Navigator account may be worthwhile if LinkedIn is a key channel for your business, as it's better to invest in the tool than to risk losing your account. However, be mindful that even premium accounts have their limits. Recent trends indicate that Sales Navigator might allow around 1800 profile views and 1100 connection requests per day for well-established accounts using automation tools, but these limits can vary with changes in LinkedIn's algorithms.

Summary of Best Practices to Avoid LinkedIn Restrictions

  • Understand LinkedIn's Policies: Thoroughly review the LinkedIn User Agreement, Professional Community Policies, and search for any rules specific to your typical account activity in the LinkedIn Help Center.
  • Heed Warnings and Temporary Bans: Pay close attention to any warnings or temporary restrictions to avoid a permanent ban.
  • Avoid Creating New Accounts Post-Restriction: Don't attempt to create a new account if you face a restriction; it's likely to be banned.
  • Post-Recovery Account Management: After recovering your LinkedIn account, focus on warming up your account, clearing pending invitations, and taking a break from automation tools.
  • Common Reasons for Restrictions: Typical triggers for restrictions include automated activities, low invitation acceptance rates, sudden spikes in account activity, exceeding allowable limits, spam-like messaging, hacking or suspicious activity, and inappropriate content.
  • Risk of Ban Despite Manual Activities: Be aware that using automation software carries risks of a ban, even if you're manually managing your activities.
  • Safe Use of Automation Tools: Automation tools can be used effectively and safely to boost productivity.
  • Strategies to Prevent Restrictions: To minimize the risk of account restrictions, consider upgrading to a Sales Navigator subscription, incorporating multiple LinkedIn accounts into your strategy, prioritizing account privacy and security, limiting LinkedIn activities, and closely monitoring outreach metrics.

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