What if you could switch off political content entirely on each social platform? Would that improve your personal experience?
For many it would, and while not all platforms are looking to offer this as an option (possibly because it’s one of their biggest drivers of engagement), LinkedIn is, with a new test underway that will provide a way to simply switch off all politics-related posts and updates.
As LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky explained to The Wall Street Journal, the new option, which is now available to some US users, utilizes keywords and signals from users, as well as input from LinkedIn’s editorial team, to identify political posts, and eliminate them from your feed. Users will also soon be able to block posts on certain topics from appearing in their stream.
It’s an interesting experiment, which could help LinkedIn boost engagement among its 800 million members. And really, for the most part, political posts don’t fit on LinkedIn – but then again, many people do work in political and advocacy roles which could, theoretically, also be caught up in this cull option, which may impact platform reach and performance for some users and brands.
That’s a key note, and something for related businesses to keep an eye on, because if enough people do indeed choose to switch off political posts, the impact could be significant – which is also relative to how LinkedIn identifies political content, and potential mistakes in its automated detection.
You can probably assume that mistakes will occur, but even so, it is a potentially valuable experiment, which could lead the way for other social apps to follow suit and implement their own controls over political exposure in their apps.
Though as noted, it’s likely much harder to implement on, say, Facebook or Twitter, where politics is so engrained into app engagement. On one hand, they probably don’t want to limit those conversations too much, and reduce usage, while the amount of false positives would likely pose more of a risk to user satisfaction on those apps than it might on LinkedIn.
But then again, Facebook’s parent company Meta did say last year that one of the most common notes of feedback that it’s regularly hearing from users is that people don't want politics and fighting to take over their in-app experience. That lead Facebook to launch a new experiment which de-emphasizes political posts in user feeds, which is still ongoing, and given this, it is possible that Facebook too could potentially look to implement similar in future, especially as it tries to win back younger users.
Again, the impact there, you would think, would be much bigger than on LinkedIn, but it will be interesting to see whether LinkedIn users warm to the option, and what extended effects that has on users, both individual and business.
LinkedIn has launched the new option with some users - if you have access, the option to turn off political posts will be available in your settings, via ‘Account preferences’, then ‘Feed preferences’.