LinkedIn China to shut down after scrutiny for censoring Americans

LinkedIn China to shut down after scrutiny for censoring Americans
·2 min read

Microsoft announced Thursday that it will shut down its Chinese version of LinkedIn after coming under pressure from Congress and journalists for censoring Americans at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party.

LinkedIn, the only major American social media platform that operates in China, has for many months blocked the profiles of Americans who refer to the Asian superpower in a critical fashion.

At least 100 Americans' LinkedIn profiles have anecdotally been found to have been banned by China in the past few months for allegedly anti-China content in the "Education" or "Experience" sections of their LinkedIn profiles.

It's likely that thousands have been banned, according to an initial analysis by Dan Gainor, vice president at the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog that tracks censorship on Big Tech platforms.

LinkedIn said it no longer made sense for it to operate in the Chinese marketplace.

"We’re also facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China," LinkedIn senior vice-president Mohak Shroff said in a blog post.

"While we’ve found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunity, we have not found that same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed," he added.

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Last month, Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana became the first member of Congress to call out LinkedIn for censoring Americans. A number of journalists in the U.S. have also criticized LinkedIn for acting on behalf of the Chinese government.

“LinkedIn is simply selling out America’s values and national security in order to boost its bottom line," Banks told the Washington Examiner last month. "LinkedIn needs to pick a side. Either serve the Communist Party or support the United States."

China has blocked all major social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, while Google withdrew itself from China in 2010 over Chinese censorship and intellectual property theft by the Chinese government.

LinkedIn and its parent company Microsoft have been the only major American social media company to operate in China and comply with its government's harsh censorship rules.

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, operates in China in a censored format, and the Seattle-based tech giant also provides facial recognition services to the Chinese Communist Party and has physical data servers in China.

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LinkedIn's new strategy for China, after it shuts down the social networking side of its operations in the country, is to launch InJobs, a new, stand-alone jobs application for Chinese companies and employers.

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Tags: News, Policy, Economy, China, Censorship, Social Media, Microsoft

Original Author: Nihal Krishan

Original Location: LinkedIn China to shut down after scrutiny for censoring Americans

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