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Slack cites US sanctions as it rolls out mass account deactivations

Slack, a popular team-based communication tool in tech spaces, has issued a wave of sudden bans to users and servers it says have ties to countries sanctioned by the United States.

Alissa McAloon

December 21, 2018

1 Min Read

Slack, a popular team-based communication tool in tech spaces, has issued a wave of sudden bans to users and servers it says have ties to countries sanctioned by the United States.

The deactivations themselves were sudden and instantaneous, meaning that any devs deemed by Slack to originate from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine, even erroneously, will have lost access to any data or information they'd previously stored in Slack along with losing access to communications with team members.

Already, many people have taken to social media to speak out against the unannounced sweeping account closures, with some saying that the deactivations are unnecessary under US sanctions or that their accounts were banned despite not residing in a sanctioned country.

According to The Verge, Slack chalks the sudden ban wave up to an update to the system it uses to apply geolocation data based on IP addresses. However, numerous individuals on Twitter have rallied under the hashtag #SlackBan to point out that they had their accounts shut down in a variety of other circumstances, such as having visited Iran on holiday years prior or despite currently working or studying in a non-sanctioned country like the US, Canada, or UK.

Those deemed to be in violation of Slack’s region-based access policies received an email notifying them that Slack had “identified your team/account as originating from one of these countries” and that the account would be closed immediately as a result. In many cases, this leads to individuals being cut off from employers and coworkers and results in the loss of whatever data or communications they’d stored in or sent over Slack in the past.

About the Author(s)

Alissa McAloon

Publisher, GameDeveloper.com

As the Publisher of Game Developer, Alissa McAloon brings a decade of experience in the video game industry and media. When not working in the world of B2B game journalism, Alissa enjoys spending her time in the worlds of immersive sandbox games or dabbling in the occasional TTRPG.

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