After unnecessarily banning some of its customers from its platform, Slack is now apologising for the significant overreach.
Days after some users reported that they had been barred from Slack without warning, the company said Friday in a lengthy blog post that it “mistakenly” blocked some accounts in a botched attempt to comply with U.S. sanctions on Iran. According to TechCrunch, people who had visited and logged on from Iran reported being banned.
The company said that after it initiated an update, it “discovered that we made a series of mistakes and inadvertently deactivated a number of accounts that we shouldn’t have.”
We recognize the disruption and inconvenience this caused and we sincerely apologize to the people affected by our actions. In fact, we also apologize to the people whose accounts we intended to disable in order to comply with these regulations. We did not handle the communication well and in both cases we failed to live up to our own standards for courtesy and customer-centricity.
As was previously confirmed to TechCrunch, the company said that it implemented the ban based on IP addresses. Slack said that it “did not block any user based on their nationality or ethnicity.” Most accounts that were blocked in error have since been restored, the company said, and it is working to restore others they may have been banned unnecessarily.
Slack did, however, use the opportunity to alert its users to a revised sanctions compliance effort tied to IP addresses, noting that users who visit a sanctioned country may not be able to access its services while they’re there. Users will be able to log into their account once they leave sanctioned regions or countries. According to TechCrunch, those areas include Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and Crimea.
“We acknowledge that we made several mistakes here,” the company said. “Our attempts to comply with these regulations were not well-implemented.”