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Deceit and duplicity in the pursuit of monetizing social media

Posted by on January 7, 2018.

One thing I really dislike is deceit and duplicity in the pursuit of monetizing social media. LinkedIn is a prime example, especially after its acquisition by Microsoft. Ever since Nadella took the helm, Microsoft seems hell bent on monetizing anything that moves — and I think we’re just seeing the beginning with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn members no longer get a feed — they get a manipulated feed. LinkedIn itself says, “The feed by default is set to display your Top updates, which are selected according to relevance, based on your activity.” So here’s the first problem: there’s an option to change this to ‘Recent’ (that is, the ‘true’ feed), but only temporarily — it always automatically reverts to ‘Top’. There’s no real choice.

And here’s the second problem: LinkedIn is being disingenouous, or put another way, is lying (certainly to me). It claims that what it shows me under ‘top’ posts is based on my activity. Well, here are three top posts based on LinkedIn’s interpretation of my activity:

The subject concerns new car sales.

The subject concerns food and eating habits.

The subject concerns world economies.

Thing is, I write about cybersecurity. More than 90% of my activity on LinkedIn is about either my work for or my own site, Here’s what happened when I manually and temporarily switched the feed to ‘recent’. Perfectly relevant.

Now you could say it’s a fault in the feed algorithm. I don’t believe that.The post analysis page also offers suggestions — this time not what I might be interested in reading, but what I might be interested in sharing. Here’s an example. These suggestions genuinely reflect my activity

So LinkedIn’s algorithms can work. The question then, is why should it suggest things for me to read that are irrelevant to my interests? (Just to add insult to injury, there is an option to ‘hide’ the current post. That works – it disappears; except it comes back again later.) Well, I have no proof, but I’m willing to bet it involves monetization in one way or another. Pay for promotion perhaps?

Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t object to monetization in itself, if it is all above board. Here LikedIn is clearly doing something that differs from what it says it is doing. And that’s the thing: I really dislike deceit and duplicity in the pursuit of monetizing social media. Shame on you LinkedIn.

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Submitted in: Expert Views, Kevin Townsend's opinions |