Headline, October 03 2022/ EXPERIMENT : ''' '' LINKEDIN ALL LIVINGS '' '''



 LIVINGS '' '''

SINAN ARAL - A MANAGEMENT AND DATA SCIENCE PROFESSOR at M.I.T. who was the lead author of the study, said LinkedIn's experiments were an effort to ensure that users had equal access to employment opportunities.

'' To do an experiment on 20 million people and then to roll out a better algorithm for everyone's job prospects as a result of the knowledge that you learn from that is what they're trying to do,'' Professor Aral said, ''rather than anointing some people to have social mobility and others to not.''

[Professor Aral has conducted data analysis for The New York Times and he received a research fellowship grant from Microsoft in 2010].

LINKEDIN ran experiments on more than 20 million users over five years that, while intended to improve how the platform worked for members, could have affected some people's livelihoods, according to a new study.

In experiments conducted around the world from 2015 to 2019, LinkedIn randomly varied the proportion of weak and strong contacts suggested by its ''People You May Know'' algorithm - the company's automated system for recommending new connections to its users.

Researchers at LinkedIn, M.I.T., Stanford and Harvard Business School later analyzed aggregate data  from the tests in a study published this month in the journal Science.

LinkedIn's algorithmic experiments may come as a surprise to millions of people because the company did not inform users that the tests were underway.

TECH GIANTS like LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network, routinely run large-scale experiments in which they try out different versions of app features, web designs and algorithms on different people.

The longstanding practice called A/B testing, is intended to improve consumers' experiences and keep them engaged, which helps the companies make money through premium membership fees or advertising.

Users often have no idea that companies are running tests on them. [The New York Times uses such tests to assess the working of headlines and to make decisions about the products and features the company releases.]

But the changes made by LinkedIn are indicative of how such tweaks to widely used algorithms can become social engineering experiments with potentially life-altering consequences for many people.

Experts who study the social impacts of computing said long, large-scale experiments on people that could affect their job prospects in ways that are invisible to them, raised questions about industry transparency and research oversight.

''The findings suggest that some users had better access to job opportunities or a meaningful difference in access to job opportunities,'' said Michael Zimet, an associate professor of computer science and the director of the Center for Data, Ethics and Society at Marquette University.

''These are the kind of longterm consequences that need to be contemplated when we think of the ethics of engaging in this kind of big data research.''

The study in Science tested an influential theory in sociology called ''the strength of weak ties,'' which maintains that people are more likely to gain employment and other opportunities through arms-length  acquaintances than through close friends.

The researchers analyzed how LinkedIn's algorithmic changes had affected users' job mobility. They found that relatively weak social ties on LinkedIn proved twice as effective in securing employment as stronger social ties.

In a statement, LinkedIn said that during the study it had ''acted consistently with'' the company's user agreement, privacy policy and member settings. The privacy policy notes that LinkedIn uses members' personal data for research purposes.

The statement added that the company had used the latest, ''non-invasive'' social science techniques to answer important research questions  ''without any experimentation on members.''

LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, did not directly answer a question about how the company had considered the potential long-term consequences of its experiments on users' employment and economic status. But the company said the research had not disproportionately advantaged some users.

The goal of the research was to ''help people at scale,'' said Karthik Rajkumar, an applied research scientist at LinkedIn who was one of the study's co-authors. ''No one was put at a disadvantage to find a job.''

The honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Tech Giants, Social Engineering and Experiments, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Natasha Singer.

With respectful dedication to all LinkedIn users, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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