Every week, we’re bringing you the latest news, trends and product launches taking place in the analytics industry.

Analyzing personal data from employees’ social media profiles might soon be against the law

From Facebook to LinkedIn, social networks blur the boundaries between private and public information. As their use has grown, so has their value to employers: a study by online recruitment company CareerBuilder shows that around 70% of employers use social media to vet their potential employees (compared to only 11% in 2006). But the tide might be about to turn. 
A new lawsuit against LinkedIn is being viewed as a test on whether it is legal for a company to collect internet users’ publicly posted information for HR purposes, according to the WSJ.
The company battling the networking behemoth in court is HiQ Labs, a San Francisco-based HR consultancy that is scraping and analyzing personal data from on LinkedIn in order to predict whether certain employees are likely to leave their jobs. 
HiQ claims that for years they scraped data without any complain from LinkedIn.
HiQ claims that for years they managed to scraped data from LinkedIn without any pushback from the social network. However, in December 2016, LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft. Then, in May 2017, attempted to ban HiQ’s activities with an IP -block, claiming that the company was in violation of the federal anti-hacking laws.
However, HiQ was the first to file a lawsuit against LinkedIn, trying to prove they are in compliance with the anti-hacking law. LinkedIn says it has a “right to control access to its private property” and argues that HiQ’s data-scraping threatens its members’ privacy.
WSJ reports that the dispute has deeper implications for the growing industry of data analytics and whether “legitimate business will be permitted to scrape from the public portion of websites like LinkedIn,” said David Thaw, a professor of law and information sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.
Last month, a series of top regulators in the European Union said that companies that check candidates’ profiles on Facebook or Twitter before deciding to hire them may be in breach of the European Law. According to Financial Times, in the guidelines published by EU data protection agencies, employers will from now on require a “legal ground” before checking the social media profiles of potential employees. The regulators add that data collected from a search must be necessary and “relevant to the performance of the job”.
According to CareerBuilder, social recruiting is becoming a key part of HR departments – 3 in 10 employers (30 percent) have someone dedicated to the task. When researching candidates for a job, employers who use social networking sites are looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job (61 percent), if the candidate has a professional online persona (50 percent), what other people are posting about the candidates (37 percent) and for a reason not to hire a candidate (24 percent).

Worldwide sale of big data and analytics tools is expected to reach $150 billion this year

According to IDC (International Data Corporation), worldwide sales of big data and business analytics tools are likely to reach $150.8 billion in 2017, 12.4 percent higher than in 2016. IDC also estimates that the industry will keep moving forward, with a annual growth rate of 11,9% up to 2020, when revenues will get to 210 billion dollars.
The main reason behind the fantastic growth is that big data analytics is quickly gaining adoption within companies. Datamation notes that enterprises have started to realize that their big data stores represent a largely untapped gold mine that could help them lower costs, increase revenue and become more competitive. They don’t just want to store their vast quantities of data, they want to convert that data into valuable insights that can help improve their companies.

Slack is betting big on analytics

Slack just added new functions on their Analytics tools, which now includes new data — and more importantly, added context — about how your company’s usage evolves over time.
According to a recent Slack post, Analytics now has three sections:

  • Overview: covers the basics of Slack — channels, messages, and files — helping you discover trends around usage.
  • Channels: goes deeper into the public channels in your organization, and is sortable by a range of fields so you can identify channels with the most members, most recent activity, and more.
  • Members: provides additional visibility into the people who make up your team, giving you a deeper sense of how active they are.

You can use these new sections and the data they feature to make more informed decisions about managing Slack inside your company. On the official Slack Blog are a few examples to get you started.

About the author

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian is a journalist and digital strategist with years of experience in the news industry, social media, content creation and management, and digital analytics.

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