May 27, 2020 - Technology

LinkedIn shares tech for detecting bias in product design

Linkedin headquarters in 2016

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

LinkedIn announced Tuesday that it is sharing the approach it uses to ensure that its new products don't inadvertently worsen existing societal inequalities.

The big picture: The Microsoft-owned platform has been working to ensure that it serves all job seekers, not just the socially well-connected.

Driving the news: The "Project Every Member" process was developed after last year’s launch of an "instant job notifications" feature.

  • Initiatives tied to the process include those push notifications; more tools to familiarize new members with the site; and features aimed at ensuring the LinkedIn platform works equally well regardless of the quality of a user's internet connection or device.
  • LinkedIn says it launched the notifications feature that kicked off the broader process to counterbalance the fact that those who apply to a job within the first few days are more likely to be seen by a recruiter.

What they're saying: "We found this feature had a significant equalizing effect — it matched the right job to the right people, regardless of their engagement on the platform or the breadth and depth of their connections," LinkedIn SVP Ryan Roslansky said in a blog post.

  • "Push notifications helped every job seeker — not just those who are privileged with high social capital — to apply for the jobs they were qualified for and to be seen."
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