LinkedIn is withdrawing from China

LinkedIn, the only major U.S. social network allowed to operate in China, has announced that the platform will cease operations in China.

The company, which is owned by Microsoft, said that behind this decision are significantly more challenging working conditions and greater demands from the Beijing authorities.

Other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, have been blocked in China for years. The inability to control what is published on their websites has made these networks unacceptable to the Chinese leadership. LinkedIn managed to stay in China only because it censored many user posts.

“Although we have succeeded in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunities, we have not achieved the same level of success in the social aspects of sharing and information,” the company said.

LinkedIn clashed with Chinese regulators in March. At the time, China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC) warned LinkedIn that it was failing to control what the CAC considered inappropriate political content. Management told LinkedIn that it needs to get better. In response, the company wrote some sort of self-criticism and submitted it to the CAC. At about the same time, the company publicly announced that it would “temporarily” suspend new registrations.

In a statement issued yesterday, LinkedIn made it clear that they tried to comply with local regulations, but that in the end it was too much.

LinkedIn is not leaving China entirely. The company said it would offer its Chinese members, who number about 50 million, a “light” version of the platform: an app focused only on job ads. Chinese users will not be able to share or comment on posts, which is a key feature of the LinkedIn platform in the rest of the world.

When LinkedIn launched in China in 2014, the company introduced itself as a global platform “with an obligation to comply with the laws that apply to it, including compliance with Chinese government regulations for the localized version of LinkedIn in China.”

The company even sold part of its Chinese business to local partners and said it would comply with local regulations using software algorithms and reviewers to make sure the posts did not offend Beijing. Obviously, even that was not enough.

Source: by

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