Thursday, August 21, 2014

Twitter Timeline Changes Include "Relevant Content" and Sponsored Tweets

Within the past week users on Twitter noticed that the social media company had deployed an experiment to a handful of users that started showing actions, like favorite Tweets, on the user's main Twitter timeline. In addition to that, Twitter also experimented with showing tweets from accounts users didn't follow earlier in the month. When it first appeared, it seemed as if this feature was simply a test due to the fact that it had yet to be universally deployed to all users. However, it appears as if Twitter has updated some key language on its help page that indicates a permanent change.

It appears as if Twitter has updated the definition of "What's a Twitter timeline?" with a new bullet point. That new point reads as follows:

Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that's popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don't follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting. 
A previous version of the same page was found in Google's Cache and reads:

 Note: You may see content from accounts you do not follow, such as promoted Tweets, Retweets from accounts you follow, or content that may be relevant to you. Read more about promoted Tweets here, and Retweets here

 The phrasing in the old text that you should focus on is "content that may be relevant to you". The new paragraph explains more explicitly something Twitter previously displayed. With the new paragraph, Twitter is more clearly defining what the "relevant content" is. Regardless, this just goes to show you that, as a company, Twitter is doing more of what it can to increase engagement in users and become more similar to other social media sites like Facebook.

What isn't clear is how or when Twitter will implement these changes, though it makes sense that the company is still experimenting with how it will show additional tweets to users and determine what works. However, some users will argue that this is a fundamental change to the core Twitter service. Until now, users had the privilege of only seeing the tweets you wanted to see, not counting retweets and sponsored tweets. This new influx of "relevant content" could turn Twitter into something more like Facebook and its newsfeed with all the sponsored content, something that many users don't particularly care for.

The most relevant point to consider is that Twitter is an immediate social network. Users are living in the present moment on Twitter with Facebook allowing for more longevity to content. However, as Facebook has proven time and time again, making major changes doesn't necessarily result in a loss of users as most people adapt and get used to it eventually. However, more people are willing to leave Twitter behind then they are Faebook and leaving Facebook over Twitter makes much more of a statement in terms of social networking, so Twitter should definitely tread lightly.

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Monday, August 04, 2014

LinkedIn to pay nearly $6M in unpaid overtime wages and damages

LinkedIn to pay nearly $6M in unpaid overtime wages and damages
to 359 employees following US Labor Department investigation

WASHINGTON – LinkedIn Corp. has agreed to pay $3,346,195 in overtime back wages and $2,509,646 in liquidated damages to 359 former and current employees working at company branches in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that LinkedIn was in violation of the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. When notified of the violations, LinkedIn agreed to pay all the overtime back wages due and take proactive steps to prevent repeat violations.

“This company has shown a great deal of integrity by fully cooperating with investigators and stepping up to the plate without hesitation to help make workers whole,” said Dr. David Weil, administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. “We are particularly pleased that LinkedIn also has committed to take positive and practical steps towards securing future compliance.” 

LinkedIn failed to record, account and pay for all hours worked in a workweek, investigators found. In addition to paying back wages and liquidated damages, LinkedIn entered into an enhanced compliance agreement with the department that includes agreeing to: provide compliance training and distribute its policy prohibiting off-the-clock work to all nonexempt employees and their managers; meet with managers of current affected employees to remind them that overtime work must be recorded and paid for; and remind employees of LinkedIn’s policy prohibiting retaliation against any employee who raises concerns about workplace issues.

“Off the clock’ hours are all too common for the American worker. This practice harms workers, denies them the wages they have rightfully earned and takes away time with families,” said Susana Blanco, district director for the division in San Francisco. “We urge all employers, large and small, to review their pay practices to ensure employees know their basic workplace rights and that the commitment to compliance works through all levels of the organization. The department is committed to protecting the rights of workers and leveling the playing field for all law-abiding employers.”

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and it prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at