LinkedIn becomes the LAST US social media app to operate in China | #socialmedia


LinkedIn, the last major US social media platform operating in China, will shut down its operations and transition to a job-seeking board after Beijing authorities reportedly gave it 30 days to better regulate its content.

The decision, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was announced on Thursday by parent company Microsoft.

LinkedIn joins other popular Western social media apps like Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, Zoom, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitch, and many more that are blocked in mainland China.

Those companies have been banned in China for years after they refused government demands to censor user content.

LinkedIn will no longer offer its networking platform to users in China due to increased censorship demands from the government in Beijing, it was announced on Thursday

The announcement was made on Thursday by Microsoft, LinkedIn’s parent company which acquired the service in 2016 for $26.2billion. The image above shows a Microsoft research facility in Beijing

In 2014, LinkedIn agreed to China’s demand that it offer a filtered version of the service – enabling it to be one of the few US tech firms to operate in the country.

By 2019, LinkedIn reported some 44 million users in China – making it the networking platform’s third-largest customer base in the world. LinkedIn has some 111 million users in the US and 29 million in India.

In March, Chinese government regulators punished LinkedIn after it accused the service of failing to censor content that it found objectionable. New signups to the site were suspended for a month and LinkedIn had to submit a self-review to authorities.

‘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,’ Microsoft, the computer giant which bought LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2billion, said in a statement.

‘We’re also facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.’

LinkedIn will transition to a site called InJobs, a job-seeking site for China-based professionals that will not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.

Last month, several China-based American journalists and academics reported that their LinkedIn accounts were being blocked

J Michael Cole, a consultant based in China, posted a tweet which included a screenshot of a message he received from LinkedIn.

‘Thank you @LinkedIn for informing me that due to the presence of prohibited content located in the Publication section of your LinkedIn profile, your profile and your public activity, such as your comments and items you share with your network, will not be made viewable in China.’

Jojje Olsson, a Swedish writer based in Asia, posted a similar message on Twitter.

‘This is absolutely unbelievable – under “Education” on my LinkedIn profile, I mention in one line that my degree easy in modern Chinese history was written about the Tiananmen square massacre,’ Olsson tweeted.

Last month, several China-based American journalists and academics reported that their LinkedIn accounts were being blocked J Michael Cole, a consultant based in China, posted a tweet which included a screenshot of a message he received from LinkedIn

Melissa Chan, a reporter for several US-based outlets, tweeted: ‘Got the @LinkedIn alert like many others — my “prohibited content” will not be shown in China. I have a case number’

Jojje Olsson, a Swedish writer based in Asia, posted a similar message on Twitter

Mark Anning, a Paris-based photographer, tweeted: ‘LinkedIn just banned my profile in China…”due to the presence of prohibited content located in the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile, your profile & your public activity, such as your comments and items you share with your network, will not be made viewable in China”.’

Greg C. Bruno, an author who has written books on China, also received a message that his profile would not be viewable in the country

B. Allen-Ebrahimian, an Axios reporter based in China, tweeted: ‘I woke up this morning to discover that LinkedIn had blocked my profile in China’

‘LinkedIn’s response is to censor my entire profile for Chinese users.’

B. Allen-Ebrahimian, an Axios reporter based in China, tweeted: ‘I woke up this morning to discover that LinkedIn had blocked my profile in China.

‘I used to have to wait for Chinese govt censors, or censors employed by Chinese companies in China, to do this kind of thing.

‘Now a US company is paying its own employees to censor Americans.’

Mark Anning, a Paris-based photographer, tweeted: ‘LinkedIn just banned my profile in China…”due to the presence of prohibited content located in the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile, your profile & your public activity, such as your comments and items you share with your network, will not be made viewable in China”.’

Greg C. Bruno, an author who has written books on China, also received a message that his profile would not be viewable in the country.

‘It took #Chinese censors three years, but my book, #BlessingsFromBeijing, has just now been labelled “prohibited content” by @LinkedIn in China,’ Bruno tweeted.

Melissa Chan, a reporter for several US-based outlets, tweeted: ‘Got the @LinkedIn alert like many others — my “prohibited content” will not be shown in China. I have a case number.

‘Could be many things – from this year’s piece about Uyghurs in exile, to my essay on democracy.’

In response to the bans, LinkedIn told Axios: ‘We’re a global platform that respects the laws that apply to us, including adhering to Chinese government regulations for our localized version of LinkedIn in China.

‘For members whose profile visibility is limited within China, their profiles are still visible across the rest of the globe where LinkedIn is available.’

LinkedIn’s ties with the Chinese government drew scrutiny from US lawmakers who demanded to know if the site handed over Americans’ user data to authorities in Beijing.

Chinese digital services that operate in the United States have also drawn the attention of American regulators over fears they pose a security risk. The logo for TikTok is seen above

Last year, Zoom said it would suspend business in mainland China after government regulators pressured the videoconferencing app to ban meetings that commemorated the massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Chinese digital services that operate in the United States have also drawn the attention of American regulators over fears they pose a security risk.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration dropped Trump-era executive orders intended to ban the popular apps TikTok and WeChat and will conduct its own review aimed at identifying national security risks with software applications tied to China.

A new executive order directs the Commerce Department to undertake what officials describe as an ‘evidence-based’ analysis of transactions involving apps that are manufactured or supplied or controlled by China.

Officials are particularly concerned about apps that collect users’ personal data or have connections to Chinese military or intelligence activities. 



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