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Photo by studioEAST/Getty Images

Linkedin will today announce algorithm changes made over the past 12-18 months to favor conversations in its Feed that cater to niche professional interests, as opposed to elevating viral content, its executives tell Axios.

The big picture: News feeds that were fundamentally built to connect one voice to many are struggling to deliver on value as communication trends move to more personal and ephemeral conversations.

Driving the news: Users may have noticed that their notifications or engagements on LinkedIn have increased lately.

  • LinkedIn has done this in part, because internal research found that participation wasn't even across the platform, and that much of the attention in on LinkedIn was skewed towards the top 1% of power users, according to Tim Jurka, Director of Artificial Intelligence at LinkedIn.

Changes include:

  • Elevating content that users are most likely to join in conversation, which typically means people that users interact with directly in the feed through comments and reactions, or people who have shared interests with you based on your profile.
  • Elevating a post from someone closer to a users' interests or network if it needs more engagement, not if it's already going viral.
  • Elevating conversations with things that encourage a response (like opinions commentary alongside content), as well as posts that use mentions and hashtags to bring other people and interests into the conversation and elevating posts from users that respond to commenters.
  • Elevating niche topics of conversation will perform better than broad ones. (When it comes to length, LinkedIn says its algorithm doesn’t favor any particular format, despite rumors that it does.)

Be smart: If this sounds familiar, it's because LinkedIn is the latest social network to change its feed algorithm to get people to engage more, instead of just passively scroll through the app and website.

  • Facebook began talking about changes it was making to its News Feed to favor posts from close friends over brands and publishers in 2018.
  • Snapchat separated social from media on its app in 2017 to keep conversations intimate among friends.

Why it matters: Higher-quality engagement matters because its often more attractive to advertisers, according to Pete Davies, Head of LinkedIn Feed Product.

  • "Member engagement is at an all-time high, driven by record levels of engagement in the feed and content being shared," says Davies. "LinkedIn Marketing Solutions revenue is up 46% year-over-year.”
  • Last year, Axios reported that LinkedIn planned to bring in $2 billion from its marketing solutions business.

Between the lines: LinkedIn has been hinting at this for a while.

  • Audience development managers tells Axios that LinkedIn editors have been asking publishers to have their reporters share content to boost posts from authoritative individuals, as opposed to having content come from brands directly.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Tokyo Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz has become the first Team United States Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver, .86 seconds behind him. Moments later, Kieran Smith grabbed a third medal for the U.S. when he won bronze in the 400-meter freestyle.

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

DOJ won't investigate nursing home deaths in N.Y. and 2 other states

People who've lost loved ones due to COVID-19 while they were in New York nursing homes attend a March protest and vigil in New York City. As of this month, Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has decided not to launch a civil rights investigation into whether policies in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan contributed to pandemic deaths in nursing homes, according to a letter sent to Republicans.

Why it matters: The Trump DOJ requested data from the three states plus New Jersey last August "amid still-unanswered questions about whether some states, especially New York, inadvertently worsened the pandemic death toll by requiring nursing homes to accept residents previously hospitalized for COVID-19," per AP.

Former Blizzard CEO says he "failed” women at the studio

Image: Neville Elder / Getty Images

Mike Morhaime, who co-founded and worked at video game studio Blizzard for 28 years, has apologized publicly for toxic work conditions at his former studio, which is now the subject of a discrimination and harassment lawsuit by the state of California.

Why it matters: Morhaime is no longer at Blizzard, but was its leader for most of its existence and therefore was in charge when much of what is alleged in California’s suit would have occurred.