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LinkedIn Announces Tougher Measures Against Inappropriate Content on its Platform


Amid the various divisive debates and concerns at present – which, if anything, look set to become even more incendiary as we head towards the US election – LinkedIn has this week outlined a range of new measures that it’s implementing to ensure that its members feel comfortable and protected when engaging on the platform.

As explained by LinkedIn:

“Every LinkedIn member has the right to a safe, trusted, and professional experience on our platform. We’ve heard from some of you that we should set a higher bar for safe conversations given the professional context of LinkedIn. We could not agree more. We’re committed to making sure conversations remain respectful and professional.”

In line with this, LinkedIn has announced the following updates:

Making policies stronger and clearer

LinkedIn says that it’s working to refine its Professional Community Policies in order to clarify that “hateful, harassing, inflammatory or racist content has absolutely no place on our platform”.

“In this ever-changing world, people are bringing more conversations about sensitive topics to LinkedIn and it’s critical these conversations stay constructive and respectful, never harmful. When we see content or behavior that violates our Policies, we take swift action to remove it.”

LinkedIn also notes that it’s rolling out new educational content to help users understand their obligations in this respect, which will appear as pop-up notifications or reminders when you go to post, message or otherwise engage.

Using AI and machine learning to protect against inappropriate content

LinkedIn says that it’s also working with parent-company Microsoft to help keep the LinkedIn feed appropriate and professional.

“More recently, we’ve scaled our defenses with new AI models for finding and removing profiles containing inappropriate content, and we’ve created a LinkedIn Fairness Toolkit (LiFT) to help us measure multiple definitions of fairness in large-scale machine learning workflows.”

LinkedIn published a full overview of the LinkedIn Fairness Toolkit (LiFT) earlier this week, which facilitates: 

“… a more equitable platform by avoiding harmful biases in our models and ensuring that people with equal talent have equal access to job opportunities.” 

Creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce is now the key focus of former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, who stepped down from his former role in June to take on this new focus. The COVID-19 pandemic may actually present new opportunities to facilitate a significant shift in such – as we look to get the economy back on track in the wake of the pandemic, it may provide a new opportunity to implement updated standards on quality, which could help reduce systemic bias.

It’s a hard task, but LinkedIn is already taking steps on this front.

In addition to this, LinkedIn also recently rolled out new process to detect and hide inappropriate InMail messages, tackling another key area of concern for users. 

Closing the loop when you report content that violates our policies

LinkedIn also notes that, in the coming weeks, it will be providing more transparency in its enforcement efforts when taking action on content that violates platform policies.

“We’ll close the loop with members who report inappropriate content, letting them know the action we’ve taken on their report. And, for members who violate our policies, we’ll inform them about which policy they violated and why their content was removed.”

These are important initiatives for LinkedIn, with each of these elements having significant, negative impacts in varying form. As such, it’s good to see LinkedIn taking a more definitive stand on such, and while we’ll have to wait and see on the actual impacts those efforts end up having, it’s good that LinkedIn is coming out on the front foot and detailing its updated processes.

In terms of actions users can take themselves, LinkedIn advises that members should ignore and report unwanted connection requests, and utilize its updated audience control options on their posts, limiting who can see and reply to their updates if they feel unsafe.

“You now have the option to select who gets to see your content. You can select ‘Anyone’, which makes your post visible to anyone on or off LinkedIn, ‘Anyone + Twitter’, which makes your post visible to anyone on both LinkedIn and Twitter, or ‘Connections only’, which makes your post visible to only your 1st-degree connections and reduces the likelihood of people you don’t know or don’t trust seeing your post.” 

Twitter implemented similar controls recently, with the option to limit who can reply to your tweets, while Instagram has also added more tools to limit who can engage with your updates

Of course, due to LinkedIn’s algorithm the amount of people who see your posts will be limited either way, but the controls will give you more options on such, which could help you limit unwanted interactions.

In some ways, it’s sad that there’s a need to implement such controls and options, but it’s reflective of how people choose to interact and engage on social media. Social platforms have now become a critical element in modern discourse, and that, unfortunately, also includes negative interactions.

The idea of a globally connected, interactive space is idealistic, and as we’ve increasingly found, there’s a need for limitations around that connection.

It’s sad, but realistic. And as such, it’s also important for LinkedIn to take these steps.  

You can read more about LinkedIn’s security updates here.



Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps


Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.


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Meta ‘Year of Efficiency’ call from Zuckerberg was what Street needed


Meta 'Year of Efficiency' call from Zuckerberg was what Street needed

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc., center, departs from federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With one simple slogan, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg temporarily quelled investor discontent with his company’s multibillion-dollar investment into the futuristic metaverse.

“Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we’re focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization,” Zuckerberg said as part of the release of Meta’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

Following a 64% plunge in Meta’s share price in 2022, Wall Street cheered the report, sending the stock up almost 20%, extending a rally that began late last year. Based on after-hours pricing, Meta is trading at its highest since July.

Growth is not what’s getting investors excited. Meta reported better-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter, but sales still sank 4% from a year earlier, marking the third straight quarterly decline. And the forecast range for the first quarter suggests that year-over-year revenue could increase, but it could also fall again.

Rather, Zuckerberg’s commitment to cost cuts and efficiency is a sign that increasing profitability is important to Meta, which was known as a growth machine prior to last year’s slump.

“The first 18 years I think we grew it 20%, 30% compound or a lot more every year,” Zuckerberg said on the earnings call. “And then obviously that changed very dramatically in 2022, where our revenue was negative for growth, for the first time in the company’s history.”

In looking to the future, Zuckerberg struck a realistic tone.

“We don’t anticipate that that’s going to continue,” he said, regarding the recent drop in revenue. “But I also don’t think it’s going to go back to the way it was before.”

Meta lowered its estimates for total expenses in 2023 to be in the range of $89 billion to $95 billion, down from its prior outlook of $94 billion to $100 billion. In November, the company announced it would lay off over 11,000 workers, or 13% of its staff.

Zuckerberg said Meta will be more “proactive on cutting projects that aren’t performing or may no longer be crucial” and that it will emphasize “removing layers of middle management to make decisions faster.”

Meta is also reducing spending as it builds new data centers that are intended to be more efficient while still able to power the company’s various artificial intelligence technologies. Capital expenditures are now expected to be in the range of $30 billion to $33 billion for 2023 instead of $34 billion to $37 billion.

Zuckerberg is selling investors on a story they want to hear, acknowledging that the company got bloated and needed more financial discipline. One of Zuckerberg’s top deputies, technology chief Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, wrote a personal essay just a few days ago echoing that sentiment.

Still, Meta has plenty of challenges ahead, in terms of both costs and reviving its core ad business.

Meta’s Reality Labs unit, which is responsible for developing the nascent metaverse, lost $13.7 billion in 2022. Finance chief Susan Li told analysts that the company isn’t planning for any reduction in that unit anytime soon. Zuckerberg still sees it as the company’s future.

Digital advertising, meanwhile, is suffering from a struggling economy, and Li gave no indication that companies are planning to dramatically increase their spending in 2023.

Meta has also yet to recover from Apple’s 2021 iOS privacy update that made it harder to target users with ads. Li said the company has been improving its online advertising system, but Apple’s update is “still certainly an absolute headwind to our revenue number.”

During the question and answer part of the call, Zuckerberg was asked about Meta’s progress in generative artificial intelligence, which has become the latest hot thing in Silicon Valley. His answer indicated that Meta is pursuing opportunities there, but will be cautious in how quickly it proceeds. Running these programs is expensive, and Meta needs to ensure it can develop them affordably, he said.

Zuckerberg said that while Meta is researching how best to incorporate the new technology, he wants “to be careful not to get too ahead of the development of it.”

Correction: Meta’s earnings report and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments occurred after the market close on Wednesday. An earlier version misstated the day.

WATCH: Meta grows in daily active users, shares pop on revenue beat


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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month


Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

Pinterest is taking a unique approach to Black History Month, with a new ‘Find Your Routes’ Black Travel Hub initiative, which aims to highlight places that have strong connections to Black history, while also showcasing Black-owned businesses.

As explained by Pinterest:

“Find Your Routes” is inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book aka “The Green Book”. The Green Book was a guidebook for Black travelers during the Jim Crow era that provided a list of accessible hotels, boarding houses, taverns, restaurants, service stations and other establishments throughout the country that served Black Americans patrons.”

The Black Travel Hub, which you can find here, will present a range of travel options, along with their history, with creators from the US, Colombia, Jamaica, Brazil and more, all taking part in presenting their city.

It could be a good way to provide education alongside inspiration in the app, while also helping people to connect, and support highlighted communities.

Pinterest will also be showcasing Black-owned businesses on Pinterest TV, while internally, it’s also hosting a company-wide event ‘to help employees gain knowledge about the history, present, and future of Black travel through the lens of Black Pinployees’.

As noted, it could be a good way to both spark important conversations, and inspire new travel journeys, which include an extra level of cultural understanding and education, along with a leisure break.

It’s an interesting take on the celebration either way, and it’ll be worth noting what sort of reaction the initiative gets, and whether it inspires more travel as a result.


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