Beginning as an alternative to job listing databases, LinkedIn has grown into a professional platform boasting 645 million users and earning 5.3 billion in revenue. Despite its size and success, LinkedIn has not been marred by scandal and divisiveness. Nicholas Thompson—WIRED editor and LinkedIn Influencer—talks about the Internet’s last neutral social platform.
“It’s much harder to be a dissident on LinkedIn, or to spread awareness about autocracy,” Nicholas Thompson explained to The New York Times, noting that business stories out-perform the political ones on the platform, especially those that follow sensationalist media narratives. “People respond badly,” he admits.
Thompson shares a daily video on LinkedIn, where he has 1.3 million followers, but he saves controversial or politically inclined material for Twitter, where users tend to lean to the left. He estimates that his LinkedIn followers, in contast, are more evenly distributed across the political spectrum. The platform itself does little to encourage political conversation, having banned political ads. Its intention has always been to connect business professionals—for the sake of business.
“The risk on Facebook is becoming too toxic,” Thompson said. “The risk on LinkedIn is becoming too cheesy.”
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