Category Archives: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is Changing Its Algorithm



Axios announced earlier today that LinkedIn would announce algorithm changes to favor conversations in its Feed that cater to professional interests, as opposed to elevating viral content.

Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, Pete Davies, later confirmed what Axios reported. He posted an article on the LinkedIn Newsroom titled “What’s in your LinkedIn Feed: People You Know, Talking About Things You Care About”. In the article, he discusses how LinkedIn thinks about conversations and ranking, and best practices for seeing your own posts be successful and appear in others’ feeds.

To summarize, your LinkedIn feed is made up of the conversations happening across your professional communities: among connections; in the groups you’ve joined; and the people, pages, and hashtags that you follow. To decide what goes at the top, we look at who’s talking (People You Know) and what they’re talking about (Things You Care About).

Here is a brief summary of some changes:

LinkedIn will look at who you interacted with directly (in your feed through comments and reactions). This helps them figure out who you have something in common with. LinkedIn will also consider who you’ve told them you work with. These factors, and some others, will determine what you see in your Feed.

LinkedIn considers the quality of conversations. “As a rule of thumb, the better conversations are authentic and have constructive back and forth.”

LinkedIn invests a lot in understanding what you are interested in and matching that to what the posts are about. You can signal what you are interested in by joining groups, following hashtags, people, and pages. Along with posts from your connections, you will see those posts in your feed.

You can find more details about this in the LinkedIn article, as well as advice about “Tips and Best Practices”. Overall, it sounds like LinkedIn is nudging things towards more authenticity and away from viral, clickbait, junk. I think the changes LinkedIn is making are a great idea.


Beware of Fake Profiles on LinkedIn



Katie Jones doesn’t exist. But, she may have contacted you on LinkedIn.

The Associated Press reported that the Katie Jones persona was part of a “vast army” of phantom profiles on LinkedIn. Experts believe that the Katie Jones image was created by a computer program. Why? According to some of the experts that the Associated Press spoke with, fake LinkedIn profiles like that one are part of an espionage operation.

CNET reported that the Katie Jones image appeared to have been created by generative adversarial networks (or GANs).

Typically, “bots”, and other types of fake profiles. steal the images they use from stock photo websites or from the accounts of real people. It is possible for someone to take those images, and run them through an image search (or a reverse image search), to find the source of the image. The TV show Catfish used that technique to determine if someone was actually who they claimed to be.

An image created by a GAN cannot be found out so easily. It is a one-of-a-kind image that, at first glance, looks like a real person. An image search, or reverse image search, won’t find a match.

There are some “tells”, however. A website called ThisPersonDoesNotExist has many photos that were produced by a GAN. All of them are closeups. All have odd backgrounds that don’t look like anything in particular. Sometimes the eyes of the person are noticeably different in size. Some have strange looking stretchmarks on their cheeks.

In one of the images, a man’s glasses appeared to have become one with his face. In others, the earrings women were wearing looked melted or were twisted into bizarre shapes. I suspect that most people won’t notice those strange alterations by looking at a small LinkedIn photo.

Another disturbing thing about the LinkedIn profiles of nonexistent people is that the profile is given an impressive sounding title at a school or business that does exist. It appears to be designed to trick people into accepting friend requests from them.

How well do you really know the people you have connected with on LinkedIn?


Two Million Passwords Stolen by Hackers



Trustwave logoOn November 24, 2013, researchers at Trustwave discovered that hackers have obtained up to 2 million passwords for websites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Twitter (and others). Researchers learned this after digging into source code from Pony bonnet. It appears that information about this has only been made public very recently.

Here’s some quick stats about some of the domains from which the passwords were stolen:

* Facebook – 318,121 (or 57%)
* Yahoo! – 60,000
* Google Accounts – 54,437
* Twitter – 21,708
* Google.com – 16,095
* LinkedIn – 8,490
* ADP (a payroll provider) – 7,978

In total, Pony botnet stole credentials for: 1.58 million websites, 320,000 email accounts, 41,000 FTB accounts, 3,000 remote desktops, and 3,000 secure shell accounts.

According to Trustwave, around 16,000 accounts used the password “123456”, 2,221 used “password” and 1,991 used “admin”. Now is a good time to go change your passwords into something strong and secure.

Doing so won’t make it entirely impossible for hackers to crack it, but it could make it more difficult. Trustwave noted that only 5% of the 2 million passwords that were stolen had excellent passwords (meaning the passwords had all four character types and were longer than 8 characters).


Excellent Customer Service from LinkedIn



LinkedInGood customer service has become quite rare. That’s why I wanted to point out the excellent customer service I got from LinkedIn. They were incredibly helpful even though I wasn’t actually one of their customers.

I used to have a LinkedIn account. It wasn’t something I used very much, and I had honestly forgotten that I had one. About a year ago, as you may recall, LinkedIn had a security breach and suggested that users change their passwords.

When I went to do that, I realized that I used the service so infrequently that I had no idea what my password was. I managed to sort that out, and then cancelled my LinkedIn account. I just wasn’t using it.

Since then, I’ve gotten email from LinkedIn that tells me that one of their current users wants to connect with me on LinkedIn. For a while, I just ignored them. This week, I got tired of it. Out of frustration, I sent a Tweet to @LinkedIn.

Jen LinkedIn Tweet

I wasn’t expecting a response, but I got one. @LinkedInHelp replied with a link that I could click on to fill out a ticket that would stop the contact invites. Doing so would put me on their Do Not Contact list. I immediately filed a ticket.

A few days later, I got yet another email from LinkedIn letting me know that one of their users wanted to connect with me. So, I sent another Tweet to @LinkedInHelp about it. The response was fast! @LinkedInHelp asked what my ticket number was, and followed me so I could sent them a direct message with the ticket number.

Not long after that, I got an email from LinkedIn that said my email addresses had been placed on their Do Not Contact list. (I’d been getting contact requests at more than one address). This is impressive, especially considering that they knew that I wasn’t actually one of their customers anymore. Kudos to LinkedIn for great customer service!


Tech Bubble? There’s An App For That.



Courtesy Facebook

Whether he knows it or not, Mark Zuckerberg fired the starter’s pistol when he reportedly single-handedly spent more than $1 billion on photo-sharing app Instagram earlier this month. The Facebook CEO apparently cut his board of directors out of the picture and decided unilaterally to purchase the relatively small Instagram for a universally huge sum of $1 billion-plus.

Nearly two weeks later, we find out that Facebook dropped another half-billion dollars on a patent buy from Microsoft – who had purchased that chunk of patents and more from AOL for a billion bucks around the same time Facebook bought Instagram.

Courtesy LinkedIn

That might qualify as a spending spree. And when one social media giant whips out its checkbook like that, you can bet a handful of other players start to wriggle a bit in their office chairs. On the other side of things, when one of those checks gets delivered to the owners of an app, you can bet the sea of app developers starts to roil and swell with the “next big thing” hoping to emerge from the churn and become overnight gazillionaires. Continue reading Tech Bubble? There’s An App For That.