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LinkedIn Adds New Features for Groups to Help Boost Engagement



Could LinkedIn groups make a comeback in 2020?

Once a key feature of the app, LinkedIn groups gradually lost user focus as they became increasingly bogged down with random spam and self-promotion, to the point where, for most, they just weren’t usable anymore. But it still seems like a great opportunity for LinkedIn’s professional community. If LinkedIn can get groups right.

And if LinkedIn can line group improvements up with the broader trends towards increased in-app engagement, LinkedIn groups could become a thing again. 


This week, LinkedIn may have taken another step in that direction with the announcement of a new set of groups updates and tools designed to help drive more engagement and interaction.

Here’s what’s been announced:

  • Moderate New Posts – LinkedIn is finally giving group admins the option to turn on an option to review all posts before they go live in their group. This is a common feature in most other online forums, so it’s somewhat surprising that it’s taken LinkedIn this long to catch up.
  • New Invitation Setting – LinkedIn will now give group admins the power to allow or prevent group members from inviting connections to a group, providing more control over potential new members.
  • Filter Members – Group admins will now also have more options to be able to locate members, with member search filters like ‘Location’, ‘Industry’, ‘Company’, or ‘School’
  • Delete All Posts – Group admins will now be able to delete all posts from a chosen member
  • Block Member from Comment – Admins will also now be able to block members direct from a comment in a group, making it easier to sift out some of that aforementioned spam and junk
  • Search for Content – On the group member side, LinkedIn is also adding some new search options, which will enable members to find comments and content based on keywords.
  • Share Groups – LinkedIn’s also adding new options to share information about groups in the LinkedIn feed and in private messages.
  • Admin Recommendations – Group members will now also be able to find group posts that have been recommended by admins.
  • Refined Notifications – And lastly, LinkedIn is also improving its groups notifications to ensure members are made aware of the most relevant group posts.

None of these additions is revolutionary, but they add to the control and functionality of groups, which, if an admin has the time, could make them a much more valuable, useful option, and may yet see LinkedIn groups become a relevant consideration once again. 

LinkedIn has been working to reinvigorate its groups offering for the last few years, yet most of the changes it’s introduced haven’t had a significant impact. But improved admin controls, and the capacity to better manage what, exactly, appears to members, could be key to enhancing the process.

It’s not there yet, but it could be coming. LinkedIn groups could be on the way back to contention.

(Thanks to Matt Navarra for sharing the latest LinkedIn groups announcement)


TikTok Faces More Legal Challenges Over Data Collection and its Failure to Protect Young Users



TikTok Seeks to Address Data Security Concerns, as FBI Calls for Full Ban of the App

TikTok is facing yet another legal challenge in the US, with the State of Indiana filing a lawsuit that accuses TikTok and parent company ByteDance of violating the state’s consumer protection laws, and in particular, failing to safeguard young people and privacy.

As reported by BBC:

“Indiana filed two lawsuits on Wednesday. The first one claims the app exposes young users to inappropriate content. In the other complaint, [Indiana] also alleges TikTok does not disclose the Chinese government’s potential to access sensitive consumer information.”

Described in court documents as ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’, the suit alleges that TikTok ‘deceives and misleads’ consumers about the risks to their data, while also exposing youngsters to ‘a variety of inappropriate content’.

TikTok’s faced similar challenges around the world, and has even been banned for periods in other nations due to perceived promotion of harmful content. Recent reports about harmful challenges have also heightened concerns on this front. A Bloomberg investigation highlighted at least 10 cases of underage users dying after attempting dangerous trends like ‘The Blackout Challenge’.

And this is an aside from the broader concerns about data privacy, which the app remains under CFIUS investigation for, as US politicians continue to debate whether or not the Chinese-owned app should be allowed to continue to operate within the US.

It still feels like it would take a significant escalation for the app banned outright, but that remains a possibility, and with various high-profile security officials also sounding the alarm, the pressure remains high on TikTok, with the threat of total removal from the US, and likely other markets in-turn, looming at all times.

Last month, FBI Director Chris Wray stated that, in his view, TikTok poses a threat to national security, joining FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr and Republican senator Josh Hawley in voicing their concerns about the app and its data gathering processes. Republican Senators, in particular, have continued to raise queries about the app, as the Biden Administration oversees its long-running review of the platform, which has experienced repeated delays and setbacks, and is now, reportedly, unlikely to be completed by its original end of the year timeframe.

But it could, eventually, recommend the removal of TikTok in the US.

For its part, TikTok says that it remains confident that it will be able to address all US concerns about its data security, via a new deal with Oracle to store US user data in the US. But with the company recently noting that European user data can still be accessed by China-based staff, the concerns remain high, and could easily rise even further, dependent on overall US/China relations.

So how are relations between the two superpowers going?

Just looking at headlines from the past week, there are reports of a potential defense partnership between China and Saudi Arabia, ongoing tensions over Chinese military activations in the South China Sea, and the US increasing its military presence in Australia due to concerns about Chinese escalation.

All of these are issues that could lead to further tension between China and the US. But they might not – and while the two nations are working to establish more beneficial, equitable and peaceful ties, that bodes well for TikTok, as there’s no significant increase in public pressure to take action against the app.

But again, things can change very quickly, and with so many security experts flagging concerns about the app, along with the issues related to underage exposure, there’s clearly a level of underlying concern, that could bubble up at any time.

And when you also consider TikTok’s growing influence – the app now has over a billion users, and is increasingly being used as a search engine and a news source, especially among young audiences – those questions are valid, and should be posed before it’s too late.   

The influence of Russian activists on Facebook was only ever analyzed in retrospect. Those calling for action on TikTok are warning that we need to be proactive on such this time around.

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