Gephardt: Salt Lake City Face Mask Supplier Booted Off LinkedIn
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When you have the tools to manufacture just about anything that is in demand, business can change rapidly.
At a time when the community needed face masks, Scott Paul saw an opportunity to help.
His team at Miakomo.com designed and began making plastic masks that have disposable filters that can be swapped out.
He said the community was interested and grateful.
“We have hospitals trying it. The Pentagon has called us,” he said.
But one group was NOT impressed. Seeing that Paul was advertising the masks on his LinkedIn page, the social media giant shut him down.
“[LinkedIn] told me that you can’t have a page about masks [or] promoting masks,” Paul said.
He said it took three days before he was able to get someone on the phone from LinkedIn to plead his case, noting that other large companies that manufacture face masks were still actively advertising on the social media platform.
“Why not the little guy who’s actually trying to provide a service and a really good service right now?” he asked.
When the KSL Investigators reached out to LinkedIn to ask about all of this, a spokesman wrote in an email, “It is absolutely not acceptable, especially now, for someone to use their LinkedIn profile or a post on the platform to inappropriately promote that they have personal protective equipment available to sell.”
Sure, but what is inappropriate about a legitimate company selling a legitimate product? Apparently nothing, LinkedIn decided, because they took a second look at Paul’s account and have now restored it.
Paul is back in business. Still, he said all of this has taught him an important business lesson.
“It did teach me that we should never rely on platforms as something we own, right?” he said. “You don’t own your Facebook profile. You don’t own your LinkedIn profile. You don’t own Instagram.”
LinkedIn said they are working hard every day to stop the inappropriate promotion of PPE on LinkedIn.
“It’s unfortunate that some people choose to take advantage of this pandemic, and that’s not OK,” a spokesperson said.
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