Politics

Linkedin Reinstates ‘I’m Not Responsible For Your College Debt’ Post

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LinkedIn has apologized for deleting a post by a conservative Air Force veteran extolling the virtues of hard work and refusing to take responsibility for others’ student debt, as the Biden administration considers wide-scale loan forgiveness.

Gretchen Smith, 49, shared a post across her social media accounts Thursday featuring a photo of herself in uniform alongside a more recent shot.

‘I am not responsible for your student debt. I grew up in poverty in the mountains of 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,’ she wrote, referring to a defunct chain of discount stores.

‘I joined the Air Force then went to college. I made it happen.’

The Microsoft-owned social network restricted her account and removed the post the same day, citing a violation of its ‘policy on hate speech,’ according to screenshots shared by Smith on Twitter.

Smith, a Tennessee resident who runs the nonprofit Code of Vets to help veterans in times of crisis, immediately appealed the decision.

On Sunday, the site apologized for the ‘mistake’ and reinstated her account.

The incident highlighted the battle over the $1.7 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. The Biden administration has paused repayments until August, citing the ongoing pandemic.

LinkedIn’s actions also reignited debate over censorship by big tech companies.

Smith was livid when her seemingly innocuous post, which was also shared across Instagram and Twitter, was removed.

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‘I was locked out of @LinkedIn just now for this exact post below. It went viral,’ she tweeted on Thursday.

‘This is the second time this platform has targeted me. I am frustrated and disappointed. Freedom of Speech has been secured by our blood, sweat and lives. This has got to stop.’

Speaking to Fox News, she recounted her childhood and stood by her message.

‘Americans do not want to see student debt wiped out,’ Smith said. ‘It’s not going to do them a service. It’s actually going to harm them.

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‘If you work hard and you’re consistent and you’re persistent, you can make it.’

She believes she was targeted for her conservative beliefs.

‘I’m not seeing Democrats being censored. I’m seeing conservatives censored. They’ve got 100 percent control over our freedom of speech right now on these platforms, and I find that to be very scary.’

Smith founded the nonprofit Code of Vets. The organization aims to ‘provide immediate intervention for veterans in crisis, at-risk and/or in need,’ according to its website.

On social media, Smith shares screenshots of donations sent to veterans across the country in amounts of $1,000, $1,400 and up to $5,000.

She says she ‘grew up with nothing,’ with her family living out of a ‘garden’ and buying clothes in ‘yard sales.’

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