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LinkedIn’s up to 690 Million Members, Reports 26% Growth in User Sessions

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As part of its broader Q3 2020 Performance report, Microsoft has reported that LinkedIn has seen ongoing growth in both total members and engagement. But there’s also been a slowdown in ad spend and job listings as the impacts of COVID-19 take effect.

In terms of users, LinkedIn is now up to 690 million total members, increasing from 675 million back in January. Total members, of course, are not active users, the more common stat used to reflect social platform performance, but as an indicative measure, it does show that LinkedIn is continuing to expand, and gain traction in more markets over time. 

In regards to active usage, Microsoft says that Linkedin sessions have continued to rise, up 26% for the quarter.

LinkedIn stats

Microsoft has reported ongoing sessions growth on LinkedIn, with the platform seeing “record levels of engagement“.

How you view that number will be relative – some businesses are seeing significantly more referral traffic from LinkedIn, and increased engagement on their posts, while others believe that much of that extra ‘engagement’ is actually being fueled by Facebook-like personal posts and gimmicky updates designed to draw clicks, as opposed to communicating professional information.

Your own experience will inform how you view such, but in overall terms, LinkedIn now has more users than ever before, and those users are more active on the platform than in times past. That could facilitate greater opportunity to connect.  

Indeed, during the COVID-19 lockdowns, LinkedIn is seeing even higher levels of engagement

“Professionals watched nearly 4 million hours of content on LinkedIn Learning in March, a nearly fifty percent increase month-over-month. With LinkedIn Live […] streams are up 158% since February.”

Neither is a real surprise, though the increased interest in LinkedIn Live could also be worth noting in your approach to the platform. LinkedIn added LinkedIn Live to company pages back in January

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In terms of revenue, as you can see in the above snapshot, LinkedIn revenue increased 21% for the quarter, but it is seeing slowing demand in both its ads and job listings due to the impacts of COVID-19.

“We expect continued strong engagement on the platform. However, a material mix of revenue is driven by customer hiring needs and advertising, therefore we expect a significant slowdown to mid-single digit revenue growth.”

Given its correlating expansion in overall members and usage, LinkedIn looks set to limit the impacts of the lockdowns on its bottom line. But they will have an impact on performance – and that’ll likely be ongoing, depending on how long the COVID-19 mitigation processes remain in place.

Overall, LinkedIn continues to perform well, and deliver good results for parent company Microsoft. Again, personal experience will dictate your view of the platform, but the data shows that there are more people using the app, and with more tools to connect, like live-streaming and its recently expanded Events feature, it could be worthy of increased focus. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Iran ‘throttling’ internet to limit protest footage: activists

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The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 but have caused a reduction in the video footage shared

The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 but have caused a reduction in the video footage shared – Copyright Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/File John Randeris HANSEN

Stuart WILLIAMS

Iran is imposing increasingly severe restrictions on access to the internet, albeit still short of a total shutdown, in an apparent bid to limit the sharing of footage of protests which have erupted nationwide, activists charge.

Campaigners and Persian-language television channels outside Iran have noted a reduction in the posting of footage of the protests filmed on mobile phones, almost two weeks into the movement that erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini.

The authorities have already restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp — until now the last remaining unfiltered social media services — and have now clamped down on apps like the Google Play Store as well as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that seek to circumvent local access restrictions.

“It’s still not an internet shutdown, and it’s hard to even describe what they are doing to the network as ‘shutdowns’. Perhaps extreme throttling is the best simple term for it,” said the Iran researcher for freedom of expression group Article 19, Mahsa Alimardani.

“But the disruptions are heavy,” she told AFP, saying disconnections were hitting a peak from late afternoon to midnight when most protests take place.

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The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 when a crackdown on less than a week of protests, according to Amnesty International, left at least 321 people dead.

Videos of protests and alleged abuses by the authorities are still filtering out onto social media channels, but not in the same volume as when protests first erupted following the death of Amini who had been arrested by the morality police.

“The authorities seem to have learned how dangerous this is for their economy or overall public relations,” commented Alimardani.

– ‘Massive hurdle’ –

Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR), which says 76 people have been killed in the crackdown so far, said internet access has either been “severely disrupted or completely cut” over the last days.

“Internet disruptions continue to cause delays in reporting” deaths in the protests, it warned.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said: “Twelve days after the beginning of the protests, the internet network is still down daily throughout the country.”

In response, social media giants have sought to offer assistance to Iranians, the United States has even agreed sanction relief on some software, and tycoon Elon Musk has offered his Starlink satellite internet network.

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But how much such measures can help, especially in the short term, remains unclear.

“Internet outages are happening more frequently worldwide, including in parts of Iran this week,” Google said in a statement on Twitter, saying its teams were “working to make our tools broadly available” following the eased US sanctions.

“We hope these changes help, in some small way, people safely access information at this important time,” it added.

Iranians have long used VPNs to access sites blocked in Iran — even government officials including the foreign minister have Twitter accounts despite the network being blocked in the country.

But Alimardani described using and accessing VPNs right now as “hit and miss” for Iranians with the blocking of the Google Play Store, a major blow when most Iranians are using Android mobile phones with their Google operating systems.

“This is a massive hurdle to downloading safe and new VPNs that work,” she said.

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