Tag Archives: LinkedIn.com

Google for Jobs

African-Americans, like most job seekers, turn to search engines and job sites like Indeed when looking for work. Google, the worlds largest search engine, has  announced Google for Jobs. The new service seeks to leverage Google’s advanced machine learning capabilities to sort through millions of job listings to better match opportunities with candidates.

This new service could help with black unemployment rates which are almost always higher than the national average. Why? Perhaps your name is too black. But ask any African-American and they will tell you straight up that job hunting is an unfair game.

Google for Jobs does not plan to offer its own job listing service. What it is doing is collecting job listings from third party sites like Facebook, Linkedin.com, Glassdoor, Monster, and ZipRecruiter.  Google will then filter jobs using various criteria and bundle together openings for similar jobs that might be listed under different names.

Major employers like FedEx and Johnson & Johnson have been piloting the program. According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai the companies saw an 18 percent increase in applications compared to previous methods. The service works by sending the user to the job site posting to apply. But the job listing market is a big business with a market size estimated at $4 billion annually. According to a report by Bloomberg, Indeed.com job search site raked in over $300 million in revenue in the first half of 2015. Google could be testing the waters before it dives in. 

Google for Jobs could play well among black people by revealing more opportunities for employment. According to a study African-Americans have come to rely on online job search information sources more than any U.S. racial or ethnic group. But evidence indicates that not only are black sounding names shunned in the recruitment process but blacks require more education that whites when applying for the same jobs.

National Bureau of Economic Research report showed that applicants with white names needed to send about 10 resumes to get one callback. Applicants with African-American names needed to send around 15 resumes to get one callback. The launch of Google for Jobs is planned in the next few weeks.



Black Women in Technology Doing Their Own Thing – Stephanie Lampkin


Stephanie Lampkin, Founder-CEO Blendoor

Technology and diversity are not synonymous. But that is not to say that African-Americans and people of color are not making efforts and having success in the cyber realm.

Black people have a saying; “Step out on faith.” That means you believe in yourself and a higher power to succeed. These sistahs have knowledge and talent and have stepped out into the tech industry with new and powerful ideas that can change the world. Black women are breaking the mold and shattering stereotypes by making a difference in the tech industry. 

One of the biggest problems in the technology industry, and industry in general, is racial prejudice. It is common for people with so called “black sounding” names to be passed over for employment opportunities. One black woman has decided to fight back.

Stephanie Lampkin launched Blendoor to fight racial bias in hiring practices. Blendoor was one of the winning companies at Google Demo Day. Lampkin’s company also won Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year competition in 2015.  Blendoor is a recruiting application that shields the prospective job candidate’s name, picture and dates to help curtail racial bias in hiring. Blendoor is focused on providing candidates to companies based on “merits not molds.”

“It’s quantifiable,” said Lampkin. “We realized that hiding names and photos created a safer space. Women and people of color felt better sharing their information.”

Racial bias in hiring has tools. Ethnic sounding names and faces of color are often rejected and using the well traveled professional networks can be an obstacle. 

Lampkin believes women, people of color, members of the LGBT community and other minorities in Silicon Valley feel alienated by job search websites that reveal a candidates name and headshot.

Lampkin told Forbes.com; “I know a number of really successful, Ivy League-educated, African-American people between 35 and 45 who refuse to use LinkedIn out of fear of discrimination. These companies are founded by white guys. There’s a psychology I understand as a woman of color that’s driven how and why I’ve shaped the product the way I have.”

Lampkin 31, is an amazing story. She was born into a welfare household and her mother was at one time homeless while pregnant with her. Yet Lampkin over came incredible odds to become the CEO of a technology start up. She learned how to write code by the time she was 13 then went on to graduate from Stanford and MIT and worked for five years at Microsoft.

But Lampkin learned that was not enough. She was still ignored for jobs at major technology companies. As a black woman, Lampkin admits it was probably because she “did not look the part.” She just didn’t fit the mold of what tech companies are looking for. Deliberate or not it is commonly known as pattern matching. Lampkin states that often veterans and disabled people are also sifted out of the candidate pool.

Lampkin remembers advancing deep into the interview process for a prized job at a well-known tech firm in Silicon Valley. In the end she was told her background wasn’t “technical enough” for a role in software engineering.

“The recruiter told me a sales or marketing job might open up,” said Lampkin. She landed at Microsoft where she spent the next five years. Lampkin is nobody’s fool and understands that being a black women was not an asset in the tech industry. Repeated job rejections have taught her that.

Blendoor is not a one way street for companies looking to improve diversity in its ranks. Job candidates can also use the app to examine a company’s inclusion programs and diversity of its executive staff. 

The app will also collect data on who is applying to tech’s most sought-after positions and who is getting them.  “Blendoor wants to make companies accountable using data,” Lampkin said.

Now you know.




World Password Day and Your Cyber Security

password dayWorld Password Day was yesterday. Ok, so we are a little late. But lets understand that a simple password that is easy to remember is also easy to break. Black people continue to be the least educated in the area of cyber security and the AACR is working to change that.

You will eventually have to kiss your money and/or identity goodbye if you are using an easy to guess passwords. Now, for the record, let me show you how easy it is to guess your password. If you use your middle name, your dog, cat or pet’s name, the model or make of your pimped out ride, your mother or father’s name, your child’s name, your husband’s name, one of their birthday’s, your address, zip code or phone number your password is probably ripe for hacking. Why? Because a good hacker can get all that information from your Facebook page, your LinkedIn account, your Instagram account and your Twitter account. Its all there! Bottom line is if your password is stupid eventually it will cost you.

Here are few tip for securing your password.

  • Complicate your passwordsLike I said; don’t use words like your pet’s name or anything that can be found on your Facebook page or Twitter account. Create random pass phrases. A pass phrase may start out like this “jimmyloveschocolateicecream”. But using numbers and special characters, you know like, $ @#%^&, etc., and it ends up looking like this “j1mmYloV3schocol@TeIcecre@m.”
  • Use a password manager We all have the aggravating problem of trying to remember multiple passwords. So to solve that problem use a password manager like LastPass and 1Password. You can find free password managers here. But to be honest password managers are not always totally secure. LastPass was acquired by LogMeIn. Unfortunately hackers stole the hints to users’ main passwords and the scrambled versions of those passwords. But a password manager is still safer than trying to  remember your passwords on your own.
  • Different accounts means different passwords Hackers love lazy people. They know that if they can steal one of your passwords its probably the same for all your accounts. So don’t get robbed because your bank account password is the same as your Twitter account. Use a password manager and mix it up.
  • Change your passwords every 90 days– Ok, maybe twice a year if you are lazy but change them. If you have had the same password for more than a year you are vulnerable.
  • Make use of two factor authentication – Two factor log in systems allows you to make double sure your password is safe. Two factor log in means that you use one password for the site and then another password is generated and sent to you usually via a text message. Consider it a double lock for your accounts.

Now lets talk about a little cyber spring cleaning.  Try to remember to treat you computer and Internet connection like you treat your home (1,2,3). Keep it clean, keep it safe and keep it secure. What does that mean?

Keep your computer clean by making sure you delete old software you no longer use, that includes games. Old software is a security vulnerability and hackers can use it against you. Make sure the software you are using is regularly updated. Most software can do their own automatic updates or remind you when they need updates.

Like the doors and windows of your home keep your computer and online accounts secure. Use secure pass phrases, change those pass phrases often and lock out strangers from your social media accounts. Remember don’t friend the friend of a friend. Hackers use that technique to get access to your Facebook page and personal information.  If you don’t know them then don’t let them into your cyber world.

Keep your system safe by using a good anti-virus program. Make sure you don’t click on links or attachments that you are uncertain of. Make sure your home network and router is secure. Have you changed the password on your router? The default password that comes with the device can be found online and hackers know this and now so do you.


‘Today in Black Twitter’

Mark S. Luckie

Mark S. Luckie

Mark S. Luckie, former Manager of Journalism and News for Twitter, launchedToday in Black Twitter. The new website was actually introduced months ago but has recently undergone a makeover. It is intended to document and catalog the daily conversations happening on the powerful Black Twitter platform. Already the site amassed thousands of followers and has been found the attention of Vox, Fader, TechCrunch and CNN Money

According to the website’s about page ‘Today in #BlackTwitter’ is a daily digest and Twitter account that algorithmically highlight trending conversations among the network of users collectively known as “Black Twitter.”

Twitter has become a powerful communication tool for the African-American online community. Pew Research data indicates that 28 percent of African-Americans using the Internet are also on Twitter. Using Twitter black people have voiced issues and held conversations of concern to black people. Black Twitter has kept alive numerous issues that concern black people including the deaths of black people at the hands of white police officers. Hashtags like #policebrutality, #blacklivesmatter focus attention on these issues.

According to Luckie “A random person can have a worldwide hashtag trend. Black Twitter surfaces individuals who are sparking conversations. Each day, you’re going to get something different. That’s what keeps it interesting for me.”

‘Today in Black Twitter’ website will encompass the past 24 hours on Black Twitter including cultural topics, politics, entertainment, memes and viral comedy.

Each post will include full attribution of the tweet source and will be free of any editorial subjectivity. The most popular or impactful tweets will be displayed based on the number of re-tweets or, in the case of hashtags, the original author. Readers can join in the conversation by subscribing to the daily digest and following @todayinblk on Twitter.

Today in Black Twitter also works as a source for journalists looking for the latest conversations in the African-American community. Luckie has written about “How *not* to Report on Black Twitter” and believes that mainstream media fails when it comes to black issues.

More about Mark S. Luckie – Mark was formerly the Manager of Journalism and News  at Twitter . He is the author the Digital Journalist’s Handbookand his most recent novel Do U. Check Mark’s web presence at LinkedIn.com, Twitter and Tumblr.com.

LinkedIn Must Pay for Spam

Linkedin-LogoIf you belong to LinkedIn the company may owe you money. A judge has ordered the company to pay its users for spamming email  in boxes.

LinkedIn was the target of a class action lawsuit and has agreed to pay $13 million to users who were spammed by the company’s overzealous email habits. Members of LinkedIn’s “Add Connections” program between September 2011 and October 2014, are eligible for a payout. You can submit a claim on this website. Applicants for compensation can expect to receive about $10.

The suit was filed in California and focused on users of the program who uploaded their personal contacts so LinkedIn can then send out invitation emails suggesting they connect through the service.

Recipient’s of the email who did not respond after a certain amount of time would then be sent additional emails.  

The suit points out that although a user may have given their permission to send out the initial invitation, they didn’t consent to the repeated emails or to the use of their name and image in those emails. According to the lawsuit an average of two additional emails were sent.

The court decided on the judgement based on the lack of clarity in LinkedIn’s terms of service about those follow-up emails. The lack of clarity will cost the Silicon Valley-based firm $13 million.

LinkedIn responded to the decision with a statement that said in part that the court should be clearer “about the fact that we send reminder emails about pending invitations from LinkedIn members, we have made changes to our product and privacy policy.”

The company went on to say , “Ultimately, we decided to resolve this case so that we can put our focus where it matters most: finding additional ways to improve our members’ experiences on LinkedIn. In doing so, we will continue to be guided by our core value – putting our members first.”

For related information about collecting money from class action lawsuits please the AACR report Class Action Lawsuits Issue Free Dollars

Now you know



Social Media Never Forgets


Photo by Stuart Miles

Let’s talk about AACR Rule #6; Nothing is ever completely deleted. Nothing! So black people be warned! Social media never forgets and it never throws anything away. Nothing! Whatever you posted online, comments, pictures whatever, years ago or yesterday is still out there. That’s AACR Internet Rule #4.  Its floating in cyberspace waiting to be found and used for, by or against you.

The Ashley Madison data hack is the most recent reminder.  The people who hacked this marriage infidelity website were supposed to delete profiles after customers paid $19. They didn’t. Now that information is on the Internet for all to see. Look here!

It’s impossible, impossible!, to exist in today’s society without some of your personal information ending up online. If you are like many people you can’t go a day without using the Internet to shop, pay a bill, or check your bank or credit card balance or send an email or text. Even if you don’t use the Internet someone you know or do business with does. So your personal data is stored on an Internet connected server somewhere, sliding through wires or flying through the air.

Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance , an industry-funded group that educates consumers about cybersecurity.  Kaiser warns Internet users to think before you hit ‘submit’. Stop and think before giving up your personal information to any kind of website”

Kaiser went on to say that, “Personal information is like money, and you don’t just give away your money. In the environment we’re in right now, you have to value it and think about protecting it everywhere you go on the Internet.”

But there is more to lost information than just financial data. Let’s talk about your online reputation. One of the hottest new areas of human resources is social media research. This has expanded the reach of human resources managers to truly examine the lives of potential job candidates and current employees.

Employers screen job candidates using background checks and employee job references.  But they are also turning more and more to  sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and pretty much all the others. All to get a better picture of who they are hiring or they have working for them. So just because you have the job doesn’t mean you can relax. Some one is always watching

Employers are reluctant to talk about searching online for information about perspective employees because of the potential for discrimination and negligent hiring lawsuits.  But some estimate that the practice of social media screening and background check are as high as 37 percent of employers. But lets be real. People are social networking and job searching online so why would employers not use this tool too check you out? So there is no mistaking what’s happening, social media screening has become a business that serves human resources managers.

According to Wikibin.com, one in five hiring managers are conducting social media profile checks. And of course the big one is Facebook because Facebook never forgetsThe worlds largest social media website is also the worlds greatest data collector, including photos, posts, emails, shopping and those famous ‘Likes’ and helluva lot moreFor employers this is the Holy Grail.

What are they looking for? How about information that reveals an applicants character, criminal history, personality, social activities, friends and associations or political affiliations and employment history. Can they use this data in hiring decisions? Their probably not supposed to. But lets be real. They probably do.

According to an article from Employment Technologies Corporation, “Social Networking Sites Become Hiring Managers’ Tool” 35 percent of employers found information about an applicant that eliminated them from consideration. Here is what they found;

  • 41 percent of users posted content about or showing them using drugs and alcohol.
  • Employers found 40 percent of users posted inappropriate pictures and information.
  • 29 percent of users were found to have bad communication skills.
  • 27 percent of applicants lied about skills and abilities.
  • 22 percent had unprofessional screen names.
  • 21 percent  posted information linked to criminal activity.
  • 31 percent found a link between the applicant and the organization.

As you can see the use of social media can really hurt you. Keep in mind that your employer cannot demand you surrender your Facebook or other social media password. That’s against the law. But if you use a computer at work then  you have no expectation of privacy and your employer can see everything you do. Private emails and social media activity included.

As we have said, social media saves everything.  And everything that is connected to the Internet can be hacked. Keep that in mind if you have some really sensitive material or images on your computer or phone. Hackers love smartphones because they are so easy to hack. Hackers steal email addresses, usernames and passwords and any pictures you have stored on your phone. And here is something else you need to understand. Those super sexy picture you sent to your lover and then deleted; well check your sent folder. Its probably still there. And since you sent to him or her its on their device waiting to be mis-used.

College applicants need to be especially alert because colleges are also checking social media sites as well. As many as 47 percent of colleges consider social media screening of applicants to be important.

A 2012 survey of 500 university admissions officers from top colleges found that roughly 26 percent used social networking sites such as Facebook to learn more about applicants. Of that number 27 percent use Google to search applicants by name. Be sure to check out the Kaplan survey. The bottom line is that college’s consider an applicant’s online image vitally important. In 35 percent of cases admissions officers found information that made a negative impression.

On a related note, a UMass Amherst study in 2011 showed that 100 percent of colleges use social media in one form or another, and the Kaplan survey reveals that 87 percent of colleges use Facebook to help them recruit students, and 76 percent use Twitter.

Now you know.

Obama; The First Cyber President

Official_portrait_of_Barack_ObamaPresident Obama can lay claim to the title of America’s first cyber president. Since his first election victory as our Commander-in-Chief the president has demonstrated the power of cyber space and using social media to connect with voters, raise money and address issues. As president he has stepped up to address cybersecurity issues facing the nation.

Beginning with his first presidential campaign the Obama camp seized cyber space high ground by using social media to connect with younger voters and spark grass root movements.

 The Obama campaign had the advantage from the beginning by hiring 24 year old Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook,  as a key social media strategist.  Hughes’ social media strategy was simply unstoppable from social networking sites to podcasting and mobile messaging.

Candidate Obama was rarely seen without his BlackBerry throughout the campaign. The Obama campaign leveraged every possible social media platform including Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, Digg, BlackPlanet, LinkedIn, AsianAve, MiGente, Glee, and many others. In the new era of cyber and social media campaigns McCain never had a chance.

Against Romney the Obama campaign had an established social media machine. The Romney campaign was not as inept as McCain’s but they could not achieve the traction that the Democrats had. The Romney campaign required as many as 22 approvals for a single Twitter message. Contrast that with the Obama campaign that used Twitter quickly and creatively.

In his first administration President Obama stepped up to the plate to recognize the need for cybersecurity and protection of American prosperity. In his May 2009 speech the president showed he was solidly focused on cyber security.  

“America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”

President Obama-2009

Under the president’s leadership the administration has moved the nation toward enhancing cybersecurity through the following initiatives;

  • 2009, 60-day Cyberspace Policy Review, spearheaded by Melissa Hathaway, who recommended a number of ways to enhance U.S.cybersecurity efforts. One of which was the creation of a Cybersecurity Coordinator position within the White House.
  • 2009, Obama  named Howard Schmidt to the position.
  • U.S. Cyber Command was established in June of 2009. U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) is responsible for America’s defensive and offensive cyberwar capabilities. Under President Obama the unit is expected to see a 500% manpower increase from 2014 through 2016.
  • The FBI has started to embed cyber investigators abroad with foreign police units in the Ukraine, Estonia, and Holland.
  • 2009, President Obama initiated a 60-day interagency cyber security review to develop a strategic framework to ensure the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) is being appropriately integrated, resourced, and coordinated with Congress and the private sector.
  • 2009, Homeland Security Department released a draft of a government plan to designate the roles and responsibilities of agencies and industry in responding to cyber incidents.
  • 2010 Senator Joe Lieberman (D, CT) introduced the Cyberspace as a National Asset Act. It became known as President Obama’s Internet kill switch. The bill would permit President Obama, at his discretion, to declare a “national cyber-emergency.”  This authority would include limiting or even cutting off connections to the World Wide Web for up to 30 days. The bill is extremely controversial and has not been signed into law even though it has bi-partisan support.
  • 2013 President Obama signs Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.
  • 2014 President Obama signs five cyber security bill into law
    • Federal Information Modernization Act
    • Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act.
    • Cyber Security Workforce Assesement Act.
    • National Cybersecurity Protection Act.
    • Cybersecurity Enhancement Act.
  • 2015 President Obama establishes the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to combat cyber attacks. Its mission will be to fuse intelligence from around the government when a crisis occurs.

Just last week President Obama gave the keynote address at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University. The president called cybersecurity the most serious economic national security challenge the country faces today.

President Obama presented his basic principles for dealing with threats to cybersecurity, consumer privacy and emphasized the importance of the government and private sectors working together to eliminate the threat.

The President presented a number of policy proposals and asked Congress to pass legislation including finally establishing a national data breach notification standard. If passed Americans will be notified within 30 days if their information has been stolen. He also proposed the Student Digital Privacy Act and a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights that would give Americans a baseline of protections, like the right to decide what personal data companies collect and the right to know how companies are using that information. Finally the President signed an Executive Order Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing.  

From his first day on the presidential campaign trail to last week’s cyber summit President Obama has shown he understands the incredible impact of the Internet as a communications and economic tool. There is no doubt that his campaign strategy will be studied by political strategist far into the future.Historians will also consider his election the turning point of election communications.  History will remember him as not only the first African-American president but also the first cybersecurity president. 

Now you know

See also; President Obama Launches Cyber Offensive , Part 2 & Part 3

ALERT! – Phishing Email Scam hits LinkedIn – ALERT!

Scammers are phishing for LinkedIn members log in credentials by sending emails that are supposed to be from LinkedIn Support.

Symantec Senior Security Response Manager  Satnam Narang wrote about the phishing campaign observed over the past week.

In the post Narange stated; “The body of the email claims that irregular activities have prompted a ‘compulsory security update’ for the recipient’s LinkedIn account.”

Instead, opening the attachment leads to a website, which looks like a legitimate LinkedIn login page, he said. The scammers have changed the websites source so that the login and password credentials are sent to the scammer.

Victims are duped into believing the email is authentic by using a lowercase ‘i’, as opposed to an uppercase ‘I’ in the bogus LinkedIn address.

Symantec pointed out that the scammers used HTML attachments in order to bypass browser blacklists. These black lists serve to keep users off phishing websites. Narang stated the best defense against this scam is to  implement LinkedIn’s two-step verification for improved login security.

“With two-step verification enabled, even if a user’s credentials are compromised, an attacker would not be able to log-in without having access to the user’s mobile phone,” he said.

If you believe that you have been scammed and you credentials are compromised then please change your password immediately and notify LinkedIn support.