Is Microsoft's LinkedIn Network Losing Its Mind?
False gestures vs. Genuine actions: Contrasting Indigenous reconciliation
Microsoft bought LinkedIn and now the platform seems to be heading downhill in the name of “Professional Community Policies” despite the new fancy features.
And Microsoft has a history of acquiring companies and not doing justice to them (did someone say Nokia?) but since Microsoft took over LinkedIn, there has been an increase in the number of complaints from black, people of colour and Indigenous people who claim they have been targeted and banned from the platform.
Even The New York Times wrote an article about how LinkedIn was using its “Professional Community Policies” to potentially delete content and ban black users that posted content it deemed offensive.
Unlike the anti-Indigenous users of LinkedIn who troll Indigenous people and post discriminative/racist content but are never reprimanded for their unprofessional behaviour, double standards much?
But when a billionaire (Bill Gates) emphasises the significance of free speech and even cautioned about the potential threat to free speech on Twitter by Elon Musk, it raises questions when a company like Microsoft which he founded/owns acquires a social platform that is now arguably subject to more censorship than Twitter has ever experienced.
This leaves me pondering the actual state of free speech.
And to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if LinkedIn’s “Professional Community Policies” under Microsoft rule are now discriminatory towards Indigenous and people of colour.
The reason why I say that is because when I was invited to be a founding member of the Microsoft Reconciliation (RAP) Advisory Board, I was originally excited because the closing the gap targets between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians had not been met or even close to it at the time, and now one of the biggest and resource-rich companies in the world was ‘committed’ to helping Indigenous people.
I wasn’t excited about my own professional development because the First Nations advisory board members received no financial compensation for their time and expertise, which is another story…
But when I learned that the philanthropic side of Microsoft in Australia supposedly only had a budget of only $50,000 to give to an external charity/organisation, I lost all the excitement and expectations I had in Microsoft's ability to help close the disparity gaps in Australia.
It made me question the company's capacity and sincerity to effectively address and narrow disparity gaps in the country.
In all fairness, it is likely that Bill hasn’t had the opportunity to visit First Nations communities in Australia before.
But it’s important to note that some of these communities face similar challenges as those in third-world or developing” countries, despite being located within a "developed first-world" country like Australia. This might explain the lack of a larger philanthropic budget allocated to Australia at the time.
But from my personal perspective, it seemed to reflect a larger issue within the company culture in Australia—with an emphasis on minimal corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts in pursuit of maximising profits.
And it raises questions about the true intentions behind many company Reconciliation initiatives in Australia and whether they genuinely prioritise a positive community impact or simply engage in token gestures for appearance's sake.
And to add it this point, it was surprising (or not) to discover that even the individual responsible for the retail operations at Microsoft Australia at the time showed a lack of interest in providing assistance or interest towards closing the disparity gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, despite also being a founding member of the Microsoft Reconciliation (RAP) Advisory Board (ironically).
When I approached him to inquire about potential discounts or opportunities to make Microsoft retail products more accessible to First People, he simply mentioned the existing student discounts, which unfortunately closed the door on exploring further possibilities to close the disparity gaps through Microsoft retail products.
If I had approached him with a proposal that could enhance their profits and increase his bonus pay, I’m confident that he would have been more engaged and eager to explore the topic further.
This was a valuable learning experience from an Indigenous perspective - don't expect much from large corporations, as they won't do much (compared to their profits) unless there's a clear path toward making more money... did someone say government procurement contracts?
But if corporations and billionaires spent more money on their corporate social responsibility initiatives than they do on public relations and “philanthropic” efforts, they would 100% make a bigger impact and create positive change.
And while it is important to acknowledge the positive impact of some of their philanthropic efforts, it can’t be denied that there is a recurring pattern of prioritising PR and media relations within their corporate strategy.
Let’s be honest here…
And if Microsoft and LinkedIn were serious about diversity and respecting Indigenous rights, they would review their “Professional Community Policies” to ensure that these policies are being fairly applied.
Even a person of colour who’s an international author and activist, Ruby Hamad was supposedly targeted and banned from LinkedIn for mentioning ‘white women’, which are the titles/themes of her books…
If I still had access to LinkedIn, I would have found the post on LinkedIn talking about this issue that potentially discriminates against people of colour and Ruby Hamad, and how the platform applies double standards to its “Professional Community Policies.” But yeah, nah, I was banned from the platform too.
When I say that LinkedIn has become more censored than Twitter, I'm not joking. It seems Bill Gates’ Microsoft only applies their right to free speech as long as you don't mention their ties to Jeffrey Epstein or affect their money-making relationship with governments.
But surprisingly, I haven't even gotten a warning or been threatened with a ban on Twitter… thanks, Elon!
One thing that can be said about Elon Musk is that he doesn’t (usually) pretend to be a philanthropist like many others in the business world. Even though he probably isn’t the right person to push world policies that benefit society as a whole, when it comes to innovation, he does well.
In contrast, the person who is arguably responsible for influencing world policies at the United Nations and developing countries needs to do better.
Let’s start with fewer PR campaigns and more results…
And before large corporations resort to portraying themselves as victims and attempt to portray their contributions as fair (while shifting the blame onto the most economically disadvantaged), I would like to present the ABS taxation revenue snapshot as a point of reference.
39% personal income revenue vs only 19% from company tax doesn’t seem fair… just like Microsofts’ LinkedIn “Professional Community Policies”.
P.S. It’s important to address the issue of claiming workers' personal income tax as a Company tax contribution. This practice, which is probably aimed at avoiding further taxes or exploiting tax avoidance loopholes, raises concerns about fairness and accountability.
P.P.S. Microsoft, you shouldn’t be surprised… but feel free to continue playing your fiddle and exaggerating the amount of work you do in the CSR/Reconciliation field.