“Hate Speech”: LinkedIn Disables Air Force Vet’s Account After Criticizing Loan Forgiveness

We have discussed the expanding censorship programs at Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. These programs have notably targeted conservative viewpoints on contemporary controversies. Now, LinkedIn has added its company name to this ignoble effort, according to an Air Force veteran whose account was disabled after criticizing the calls for loan forgiveness. The site declared opposing the Democratic plan for loan forgiveness to be “hate speech.”

Smith is the founder of the non-profit organization Code of Vets, a group created in honor of her father who died at 57 after years of struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Like many Americans, she opposed the loan forgiveness calls from Democratic members and has shared her own use of military service to help pay for college.

Smith posted her take on student loan forgiveness on vasrious social media platforms.

“I am not responsible for your student debt. I grew up in poverty in NC. Ate from a garden, name was on community Angel tree for Christmas, bought clothes from yard sales & if I was lucky, on a rare occasion Sky City. I joined the Air Force then went to college. I made it happen.”

LinkedIn then disabled or restricted her account as well as her Code of Vets account. LinkedIn told Smith in an email that the Code of Vets post “goes against our policy on hate speech,” according to a screenshot she shared on Twitter.

LinkedIn has not responded to media inquiries, which is typical of social media companies. The company simply said that she can appeal.

If this is the entirety of the posting, it is hard to imagine a more glaring example of bias and censorship. Someone in the company simply supports loan forgiveness and declared opposition to the Democratic plan to be “hate speech.”

Both public and private censorship leads to an insatiable appetite for silencing those with opposing views.

This is why I have described myself as an Internet Originalist:

The alternative is “internet originalism” — no censorship. If social media companies returned to their original roles, there would be no slippery slope of political bias or opportunism; they would assume the same status as telephone companies. We do not need companies to protect us from harmful or “misleading” thoughts. The solution to bad speech is more speech, not approved speech.

If Pelosi demanded that Verizon or Sprint interrupt calls to stop people saying false or misleading things, the public would be outraged. Twitter serves the same communicative function between consenting parties; it simply allows thousands of people to participate in such digital exchanges. Those people do not sign up to exchange thoughts only to have Dorsey or some other internet overlord monitor their conversations and “protect” them from errant or harmful thoughts.

Social media companies seem to have written off conservatives and others with dissenting views. They have also readily embraced censorship as a noble task. Indeed, after the old Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was criticized for his massive censorship efforts, Twitter replaced him with CEO Parag Agrawal who has expressed chilling anti-free speech sentiments. In an interview with Technology Review editor-in-chief Gideon Lichfield, he was asked how Twitter would balance its efforts to combat misinformation with wanting to “protect free speech as a core value” and to respect the First Amendment.  Agrawal responded;

“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation. The kinds of things that we do about this is, focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.

One of the changes today that we see is speech is easy on the internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard. The scarce commodity today is attention. There’s a lot of content out there. A lot of tweets out there, not all of it gets attention, some subset of it gets attention.”

He added that Twitter would be “moving towards how we recommend content and … how we direct people’s attention is leading to a healthy public conversation that is most participatory.”

177 thoughts on ““Hate Speech”: LinkedIn Disables Air Force Vet’s Account After Criticizing Loan Forgiveness”

  1. I was recently restricted on Linkedin without any reason other than my conservative views and support for the Canadian Conservative and the Republican parties. It is ridiculous for these platforms to pretend they are not in violation of the First Amendment. I fear the American dream is death unless the conservatives across North America can push to reinvigorate the US Constitution as drafted by the Founding Fathers.

  2. “As the Donbas region of Ukraine is poised to become the site of an armored showdown, Republican U.S. lawmakers have joined Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in questioning whether the Biden administration truly wants victory for Kyiv over Moscow.”

    Of course, Biden is upset that Russia didn’t immediately crush Ukraine. He is a Russian stooge. He’s taken bribes from Russia. He is a liar. The Air Force officer wants people to be responsible for their debts. Biden wants 10% of the action.

  3. “Social media companies seem to have written off conservatives and others with dissenting views. They have also readily embraced censorship as a noble task.”

    A citizen has the right to express an opinion. Social media censorship is creating a class of non-citizens prevented from participating in the national discourse. An act of tyranny among many over the last couple years. Anybody starting to notice a pattern?

    1. it is stunning anyone still uses their platforms. Stop patronizing these Nazi socialists who seek to purge our society of people different from them.

      1. Only a fool would call them “Nazis” when they are the exact opposite: bolsheviks.
        Sounds like you’ve been gulping down too much propaganda.

        1. Exactly.. these people are brainwashed by communist aka bolsheivik aka Jewish hate speech propaganda…

          Much holohoax

      2. You can’t be this brainwashed….censorship is a tactic employed by JEWS he’ll communism which was founded, lead and enforced by jews was the greatest promoter of censorship.. in Germany jews were allowed to assemble and even had youth groups called BETAR who were given immunity…

        Do research you uneducated filth

        1. Poor Cody, You are remarkably stupid and ignorant, and could not write a single coherent, grammatically correct sentence free of misspelled words if your life depended on it.

    2. I took student loans and I paid my back. You knew when you took the money it was to be paid back. Quit buying houses and cars pay your bills. No more sad stories.

  4. Anericans should have used the same sort of direct action against Big Tech that they were complicit in unleashing in many of our cities just a year ago.

  5. Linkin is turning into just a bragging site. It’s now nothing but people saying they are proud to have gotten promoted, bosses saying something and underlings kissing but or postings of inane articles. I was on it since the beginning with over 2200 connections and dropped in last month

  6. Imagine twin brothers graduate from high school. One goes to college. The other spends four years learning the plumbing business from their father. After four years, the first brother graduates with $30K in college loans. The father retires and the second brother takes over the plumbing business. The father’s truck is completely worn out, so the second brother takes out a loan for $30K to buy a used truck in good condition.

    Why is the first brother’s debt a “problem” that society needs to address? Aren’t both brothers capable of earning a living and paying off their own debt?

      1. Is that supposed to be a joke?

        Your “principle” is that if a loan’s interest rate is above X, the government can decree the loan “forgiven”?

      1. Which totally negates the fact that the student agreed to the terms.

      2. I graduated from college in 1984 with $12.5K in student loan debt at a 7% interest rate. My first job paid $17.5K per year which was 1.4 times the amount of my debt. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, that’s equivalent to graduating with $34.2K today and getting a job that pays $47.9K. A $47.9K annual salary is equivalent to earning $24/hr.

        As a point of reference, Walmart is now offering a starting salary of $95K to $110K to truck drivers.

  7. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us could gather in one big room and face each other? So much of what is said here anonymously wouldn’t be said publicly. The fact that our comments would now have a face would be chilling. Many would self-censor their comments which they need not do anonymously. The chilling effect of the public square is a good thing. We would be more civil and less confrontational. Anonymity serves to polarize us more than ever. If only we would not say anonymously that which we would not dare say publicly because people might judge us by name.

    1. Jeff,
      I agree wholeheartedly. There is something about being in person that cannot be communicated by written word, especially in this format.

    2. Jeff, I agree wholeheartedly. But I assure you, I NEVER post anything that I would not say face to face. Hopefully one day I can prove that to you.
      Now I don’t believe in ” hate speech”. This is a new term to protect the thin skinned. Part of the pussification of our nation. Unless it is a call for violence there should not be a ban on any words. There is also bad taste. And that should be called out.
      To go back to a post last week where Turley referenced Luca Brasi, my wife loves the part in ” The Godfather” where Woltz says to Hagan , ” you tell your Dago, Ginny, Greaseball W.O.P boss “. I take no offense. And my wife is not Italian.
      Stop with the ” you hurt my feelings”, crap.
      And to be more direct on this subject matter , this loan forgiveness is nothing more than a bribe. But I am willing to be flexible. Because who qualifies to get this ” forgiveness” appears to be totally subjective, if I can get my $ 160, 000 back for sending my kids through college, I can be persuaded. And just so you know one has a Master’s in Psychology. The other in Criminal Justice. They were both going to go for their Master’s in Gender Studies, but I talked them out of it.

      1. Paul,

        Well, I don’t know your last name so you are half anonymous. You can thus say things for which you can’t be held accountable.

        I am not advocating the government ban hateful speech! Here is my take on the freedom of speech in case you did not see it:


        Have your children read the commentary on this blog, and tell me on whose side they are on! Ask your daughter if TDS is a known psychological condition and whether I am afflicted. If she thinks not, I can use her diagnosis to defend myself from repeated claims by Trumpists here that I am suffering it!

        1. Jeff, I am not going to put out my last name in a public forum. But believe me face to face I am very rarely inhibited. Many on forums like Twitter use their last names. But are keyboard pu**ies. I would never put something in print that I would not say to someone’s face. When someone is within arm’s length, that is when you are truly accountable. My guess as to where my children would land would be that my daughter leans Left, my son Right. But both are reasonable and successful.
          As for the diagnosis, I don’t think that TDS is an accepted malady by psychiatrists. But I am going to see her Sunday. I will ask.
          And from my own perspective, you are doing MUCH better. Not every post names Trump. Or Fox.
          Continue the good work, I for one appreciate it.
          Dinner offer holds. Weather getting better. I was thinking of coming out to your neck of the woods. But with Alioto’s closing, not sure.

  8. Loan forgiveness means taxpayers have to pay for the degrees of doctors, lawyers, and gender studies majors. It means plumbers and shop owners pay for it. It means that responsible people who paid off their debt are suckers.

    It punishes responsibility and rewards going back on your word.

    You borrowed money and promised to repay it. That’s on you.

    Making higher education a taxpayer expense shovels money on far left academia, who will proliferate more fluff degrees like transgender studies to hoover it all up. It will bloat the bureaucracy and administrators in universities.

    Now it’s a crime to social media to voice this opinion.

    Down with censorship. Resist the Totalitarian Left who will bring us to ruin.

    1. No doubt you also object to bankruptcy, because “It means that responsible people who paid off their debt are suckers. It punishes responsibility and rewards going back on your word.”

      1. No doubt you also object to bankruptcy, because “It means that responsible people who paid off their debt are suckers.
        If my neighbor files for bankruptcy and his debt of $50k to his lawyer is discharged, It doesn’t affect anyone but the lawyer.

        Student debt is quite another beast. One because congress has protected it from bankruptcy. If we would treat it like almost all other debt, The entity providing the product or service would be liable. Or the lender that loaned the money to the consumer. Student debt should be treated exactly like that. If colleges shared the risk for bankruptcy, Colleges would start to practice due diligence and only loan money to those that exhibit the ability to pay back the debt.
        What the Biden is doing now is granting free college without having to pass the legislation. Because the govt is holding and servicing the loans, the govt can just suspend payment indefinitely.

        Because Democrat NEVER advance their agenda through the legislative process.

      2. “No doubt you also object to bankruptcy . . .”

        Yes. No. Maybe.

        Whatever the reply, it’s irrelevant to the validity of the original argument. And such a question is textbook deflection and ad hominem.

  9. Randy P says:

    “These outfits didn’t create the internet.”

    Reminds me of when Obama said, “You didn’t build that,” for which he was savagely ridiculed by Conservatives.

  10. Here’s the problem with social media. It’s us. We breath life into these platforms by using them. Just stop with the nonsense and all of the sudden they will no longer be relevant. I don’t know if that can happen, a simple flaw in humans is that we like to hear ourselves, it pulls the right levers in our brains and make us feel good. It’s really a drug addiction.

  11. Jack Dorsey, I’ve read, has deeply regretted his role in censoring the last election. If so, I regret the mean things I said about him.

    Rush Limbaugh said Twitter is a “cesspool.” Parag Agrawal is living, slithering proof of that miserable stink. Pawag Agrawal is also embarrassing proof that too many immigrants just don’t get it. He is an indictment of runaway diversity and a$$-clown wokeness. He is a small-minded, conventional pseudo-intellectual pig.

    Sincerely… Mother

  12. What about the students and graduates who drove old ugly cars, ate a lot of beans and rice, no cell phone, no credit card, worked while going through school. The person living so close to the margin that if they purchased one cup of coffee per day in a restaurant, it would break the budget. What about the graduate who worked overtime and side jobs, lived frugally, and stuck with it to pay tuition, books, fees, and loans. Will the government cut them a check? Reward them for their hard work and for pinching a penny so hard it screamed? The student that shook down the couch for loose change so that they could splurge on tacos?

    How is that hate speech? Why would a third generation pipe fitter or any of the working class want to pay the loan for some kid’s “studies” degree from a fancy educational institution? Will the distinction be made between a young student or graduate who attended a state university vs. one who attended an expensive private school? Will a distinction be made for a graduate who has a degree that gives him or her an opportunity to earn a living? A person who has chosen an area of study where the graduates are in demand? Will professors and especially administrators volunteer for a pay cut in order to make education more affordable? A growing number of universities are doing a good job alienating alumni and thus their financial support. There are a rare few universities that are flush with cash.

    Many institutions make it too easy for students to indenture themselves for years to come by making it easy to borrow cash. That cash comes with a hefty price. Once the student moves on out of the system, there are more to follow. Why not hold the universities accountable? You send a graduate out into the world with a degree that will not sustain their debt? Then you will retrain them at your expense (room, board, tuition and fees) in a profession that will justify the amount of debt you allowed them to have.

  13. This is not the first instance of LinkedIn censoring information its management does not agree with.

    LinkedIn has banned a number of prominent Covid anti-vaccine narrative proponents, researchers and scientists under the guise of promoting misinformation, including Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Michael Yeadon, Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche. entrepreneur Steve Kisch and numerous others.

    In the 1600’s, I’m sure that LinkedIn would have banned anyone who took the side of Galileo in insisting that the Earth revolved around the sun.

    LinkedIn is a social network. It does not have the scientific knowledge or moral authority to declare information that its management does not agree with as “misinformation”.

    I have deleted my Linkedin profile and I suggest that others consider doing the same if you don’t support censorship.

    P.S. not mentioned by Jonathan is that LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft.

  14. Canceled my Linkedin account today citing their horrible approach to speech as the reason.
    FTR there is bo legal classification of hate speech

  15. It hasn’t been a great idea to trust Silicon Valley companies with much of anything for at least a decade. The thing about the dawn of the www was that people were mainly creating their own independently hosted content. Now, considering Facebook or Instagram ‘your website’ is lunacy unless you are famous or have so many followers that advertisers are lusting after you because you can afford it when the service bails on you, taking literally all of your content with it. Even then, it’s dubious. You are always subject to the TOS agreements, and they do not generally make a whole lot of concessions for users. This isn’t new information. People are catching on, but still not in the way they probably should be. That this is still a mystery to people is evidence that we have become even less technologically literate with the advent of mobile technology and web 2.0 platforms, not more. That is one of the main advantages the tech literati hold over everyone else. Your smartphone is not an appliance, it is a handheld computer that runs on basically the same code as your old computer, and the ‘cloud’ is a very big room full of servers that someone else controls.

  16. When Linked In had its IPO back in 2011, it was a roaring hot-issue success. The stock came out that morning at 45 dollar per share and ended the same day over 120 dollar per share.
    Back then, Linked In had a great business model, and used the IPO cash to improve upon it.
    Then somewhere along the way, its Board of Directors, and its Principal Officers, got infected with the progressive ‘bug.’
    And this story about declaring this Vet’s disagreement with loan forgiveness to be ‘hate speech’ is proof of it.

    There are two ways to combat this absurd notion of what hate speech is:
    1. Cancel all your professional ties with Linked In, ie stop using the service and be sure to let them know why. For some of you, this might be a difficult thing to do because you rely on LNK for your career.
    2. If you have a stock brokerage account, if you own Linked In, sell it: and if you don’t own it, buy Put Options on it or for those of you who qualify to do so, short the hell out of it. Both stock strategies will profit from a decline in the stock’s market price.

    On Monday, April 11th, I’m doing both as soon as the market opens.

    p.s. I’m also doing the same with the stock of Walt Disney’s company which has been in the news the last month of its pushing the policy of teaching 5 year olds sex education in lieu of how to play with other children and be better social animals.

    1. What changed is millennials taking over. I know that isn’t a popular opinion, but it’s a fact. We can blame far too much of all of this on one generation and their privilege and entitlement. All you have to do is compare the original project of the WWW launched by Sir Tim Berners Lee, NeXT computing, and their associates with the web 2.0 explosion of the mid 2000’s led by Google and the likes of Zuckerburg and Dorsey. It isn’t a huge mystery if one has been following along the whole time.

    2. RL: Good for you! Yours is a free market protest, and you’re voting with your dollars.

      For those who think that such a “little guy” protest is ineffective, think again. Those companies know that for every vocal protestor, there are multiples of silent ones — and that the vocal ones are active, and will voice their protests elsewhere (as RL has just done).

  17. Let’s see how much change at the Twitter Corporation will happen with Dr. Elon Musk in a position of influence.

  18. OT


    Did the visionaries who voted to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920 have any concept that women were going reject the roles of women as mothers and child nurturers, pursue the roles of men, stop having babies sufficient to grow and defend the nation, employ substances to preclude pregnancy, and abort all the babies they could legally and morally get away with?

    In 100 years, there won’t be an American left in America because American women stopped making them.

    What happened, America?

      1. George has referenced his wife and children in the past. You on the other hand, a Groomer’s groomer, have referenced your West Hollywood gay escapades. How long has it been since any gay men hooked up with you? Give or take 25 years

    1. We joined the wrong side in ww2 and jews have been allowed to subvert this country as well as European countries

  19. “[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

    – James Madison

    Understanding that property damage and bodily injury are illegal by statute, government holds no purview, and only the owners hold full dominion over private property.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks
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