LinkedIn is shuttering its social networking service in China as it faces mounting pressure to comply with the country’s strict censorship rules, it announced on Thursday.
“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,” Mohak Shroff, senior veep of engineering said in a statement.
“We’re also facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China. Given this, we’ve made the decision to sunset the current localized version of LinkedIn, which is how people in China access LinkedIn’s global social media platform, later this year.”
Instead LinkedIn will launch a new service named InJobs that will advertise and process job applications. InJobs will not have a social feed, people will not be able to write posts or share articles.
A localized version of the company’s platform was launched in China in 2014, and has grown from a few million users to over 50 million users in the last seven years. Maintaining the social side of the service was currently difficult, the Microsoft-owned biz said. The Chinese government heavily monitors social media and cracks down on politically sensitive content.
Regulatory authorities punished LinkedIn for failing to take down posts and the company temporarily paused new sign-ups as it worked to comply with local laws, earlier this year in March. It also blocked profiles of foreign journalists and academics from being accessed within China if they mentioned forbidden topics like the Tienanmen Square massacre.
“Our decision to launch a localized version of LinkedIn in China in February 2014 was driven by our mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” Shroff said.
“We recognized that operating a localized version of LinkedIn in China would mean adherence to requirements of the Chinese government on Internet platforms. While we strongly support freedom of expression, we took this approach in order to create value for our members in China and around the world.”
The Register has asked LinkedIn for further comment. ®