As the pandemic causes unemployment rates to rise around the world, it has been a busy year for LinkedIn. The professional-networking website has introduced a range of new features in recent months designed to help its members, particularly those who have lost their jobs as a result of the health crisis.
One of them is an “open-to-work” profile tag that allows members to advertise the fact that they are actively looking for a job. Another is a virtual job-preparation tool, powered by artificial intelligence, that allows members to record practice answers to interview questions and then offers feedback on things such as pace of speech and the number of filler words used, along with tips on how to improve their response.
The platform, like many other social-media sites, has also launched a “stories” feature that allows members and companies to post messages to their profiles.
People have been spending more and more time online during the pandemic, and LinkedIn reports a huge increase in content creation between June 2019 and June 2020.
“We have seen an increase of more than 50 percent of content sharing and creation, because people want to talk more and want to connect more (for two reasons): to better maneuver their professional lives and to understand what’s happening in the world, because there have been a lot of changes, obviously, with the pandemic,” said Lynn Chouman, a LinkedIn news editor.
LinkedIn News is the branch of the platform that delivers business news and key global insights to its users. With more than 75 editors in 15 countries, it launched in the Middle East in September 2019 and Chouman is one of two editors covering the GCC region.
Not surprisingly, the most popular news topic right now is the coronavirus, she said, and users are interested in two particular aspects of the pandemic. First, and most obvious, they want the latest news about the virus and its spread.
“We have taken official and trusted sources and aggregated them on a daily basis — sometimes on an hourly basis — so that members are up-to-date with the latest developments,” said Chouman.
Secondly, she said, LinkedIn members want to know how the coronavirus is changing the world in general and specific industries in particular, and what they can do to better prepare themselves for the future.
To address this need, LinkedIn editors asked experts in several countries about their “big ideas” for the post-COVID world, which were condensed and presented as insights to give an overview of the trends expected in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Wherever there is news, there is a chance that some sources will attempt to spread false information but LinkedIn is taking steps to prevent this from happening on its platform.
“We’re continuing to invest in systems and technology that give us the ability to monitor, detect and swiftly act on inappropriate content, including content flagged by our members,” Chouman said.
The company is also “expanding automated scanning against known content hashes from shared industry repositories; making it easier for members to report illegal, violent or extremist content; and speeding up the time it takes for member-reported content to be reviewed by our content-moderation teams,” she added.
Chouman said that LinkedIn is dedicated to helping its members not only by providing news and information, but also tools such as LinkedIn Learning, which offers more than 250 online courses, and its new virtual job preparation tool, as well as assistance to small businesses.
“Our mission is to help professionals make sense out of the world,” she added.