Two days ago, we updated our system for applying location information to comply with U.S. trade embargoes and economic sanctions regulations.
Soon after updating, we 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.
We did not block any user based on their nationality or ethnicity. As is standard in the enterprise software industry, Slack uses location information principally derived from IP addresses to implement these required blocks. We do not collect, use, or possess any information about the nationality or ethnicity of our users.
We have restored access to most of the mistakenly blocked accounts, and we are working hard to restore any remaining users whose access was blocked in error. If you think we’ve made a mistake in blocking your access, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll review as soon as possible.
We would also like to notify our users that as we continue to update our systems over the next several weeks, we will soon begin blocking access to our service from IP addresses associated with an embargoed country. Users who travel to a sanctioned country may not be able to access Slack while they remain in that country. However, we will not deactivate their account and they will be able to access Slack when they return to countries or regions for which no blocking is required.
We acknowledge that we made several mistakes here. Our attempts to comply with these regulations were not well-implemented. In our communications, we did not treat our customers and other users with the respect they deserve. And finally, in the rush to understand the impact and begin the process of mitigation, we were slow to communicate what was happening. To everyone affected, we apologize. We’ll take the failures here as lessons we can use to improve our service and avoid similar mistakes in the future.