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LinkedIn Launches Initial Test of Audio Rooms, Announces New Formats for Live Events

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LinkedIn Launches Initial Test of Audio Rooms, Announces New Formats for Live Events


With the pandemic still disrupting live events, and forcing businesses and industry groups to seek alternative means of networking and community connection, LinkedIn has seen a big rise in live events hosted on its platform, with the creation Live Events in the app increasing by 150%, year-over-year.

Which makes sense – LinkedIn is, after all, the professional social network, and where business leaders are increasingly looking to establish professional connections. And now, as it looks to maximize its potential on this front, LinkedIn is adding some new elements to its live events tools, which will provide more capacity for connection and interaction within the LinkedIn environment.

First off LinkedIn’s launching an initial test of its own, Clubhouse-like audio events platform, which will enable users to tune into live discussions in the app, and participate by raising their virtual hand to join as a speaker, or posting likes in response to the chat.

As you can see here, the format looks very much like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, with separate panels for those ‘on stage’ and speaking, and those tuning in below.

LinkedIn has been developing its live audio tools since March last year, at the peak of the Clubhouse hype cycle, and while it has taken some time for the platform to develop its own option, it could still serve a valuable purpose within the LinkedIn environment, providing more capacity for professional connection within industry-aligned meetings and discussions.

LinkedIn also notes that it has solid capacity to highlight the most relevant audio sessions to each member:

We have the professional context to recommend the most relevant events that can help you learn, network and be successful, and we’re investing more in surfacing these events to you. Whether an event by a creator or page you follow, or a topic you’re passionate about, we will surface the events that will help you reach your career goals.

Discovery remains the key challenge for social audio tools, and given the professional focus of LinkedIn, which helps to ensure that spam and off-topic discussions are somewhat limited, it could be well-positioned to highlight more relevant sessions to each user.

LinkedIn’s also using the format of its audio rooms as a template of sorts for its other live meeting features, including video events:

LinkedIn video events

And single user live-streams:

LinkedIn live-streams

That will expand the platform’s capacity to host virtual discussions, and bring industry leaders together in new formats, which could, again, be hugely valuable within a LinkedIn context, and help to expand the usage of the platform for live events.

Of course, ideally, we’ll all be able to go back to IRL events sooner rather than later. But with the Omicron variant of COVID now pushing case numbers higher once again, it looks like we will indeed be living with the virus for some time yet.

And even when live events are able to go ahead, these new connection options on LinkedIn will serve a valuable purpose, particularly as more businesses move to hybrid working processes, with more people spending more time in different locations, as opposed to being tied to a physical office space. As employees shift away from major cities, that could also impact the capacity to get business leaders together for such events – but virtual meet-up tools like this could ensure that such sessions can still happen, no matter where each participant is based.

The developments could serve a valuable purpose – LinkedIn says that its new events options will be tested by a few thousand creators who will host events across different topics and themes”

“We’ll expand the ability to host Audio Events to more creators in the coming months, and we’ll start rolling out our Video Events format later this spring.

Definitely one to keep tabs on – we’ll keep you updated on any progress.



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

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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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