LinkedIn shuts down in China over government censorship, Microsoft company confirms
LinkedIn's vice president confirmed that the platform closes operations in China. It was the only Western social network that remained in the Asian country, where there is no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Google.
LinkedIn , the social network for professional contacts, confirmed that it will close its operations in China in the face of government censorship . The Microsoft -owned company announced that its exit will take place at the end of this year, adding to other social networks that do not have a presence in the Asian country, such as Facebook , Instagram , Twitter and the Google search engine.
“We are facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and higher compliance requirements in China. Given this, we have made the decision to retire the current local version of LinkedIn, which is how people in China access LinkedIn's global social media platform, later this year , ” Mohak Shroff said in a statement . , Senior Vice President of LinkedIn .
"While we have been successful in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunities, we have not found the same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed," added the manager.
In its seven years of operation, LinkedIn has accumulated 54 million users in China , making it the company's third largest market in the world.
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Did LinkedIn give in to China's censorship?
According to reports in The Wall Street Journal , the platform was the target of censorship by the Cyberspace Administration of China .
"In recent months, LinkedIn notified several human rights activists, academics and journalists focused on China that their profiles were being blocked in China, saying they contained prohibited content," the outlet in its report.
In this sense, Shroff stated that the social network took into account that it had to adhere to the government's requirements to operate in China.
“While we strongly support freedom of expression, we take this approach to create value for our members in China and around the world. We also established a clear set of guidelines to follow should we ever have to re-evaluate our localized version of LinkedIn in China, ” said LinkedIn .
Earlier this year, LinkedIn had to step up blocking content , including that of journalists from the United States. This earned him criticism from US politicians and even a Republican senator called the decision "an act of submission to communist China."
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There will be a special LinkedIn version for China
While Microsoft will withdraw the world-famous version of LinkedIn from China, they also do not want to lose users from that territory. For this reason, the company is working on a version called InJobs , a new independent employment app for the Chinese market that will be released at the end of this 2021.
"We will continue to have a strong presence in China to drive our new strategy and we are excited to launch the new InJobs application," says the LinkedIn statement. This platform will function strictly as a job board without the social part, as they will not be shared publications or articles .
LinkedIn, the last western social network that managed to stay in China
When LinkedIn launched in China in 2014, it agreed to adhere to state restrictions and block certain content.
However, last March the problems began. LinkedIn was reportedly punished by the Chinese regulator for failing to censor political content. As a result, they had to block the registration of new users for 30 days, while the authorities verified that they were complying with the country's laws and with the mandate to “better regulate their content” if they wanted to stay in the country.
A couple of months later, China said 105 apps violated data collection laws, including LinkedIn.
The Microsoft platform was the last major social network in the United States still officially operating in China. Facebook and Twitter have been blocked there since 2009 , and Google since 2010 . In addition, the government banned Instagram in 2014 and also vetoed Signal and Clubhouse in early 2021.
Last week, Apple removed from its AppStore in China the application on the Koran Quran Majeed , which has "the confidence of more than 35 million Muslims around the world," says the company as quoted by the BBC . The company explained that it made this decision to avoid problems with the Chinese government, which criticized the app for harboring "illegal religious texts" , something that has caused much controversy in the country and in the world.