Microsoft is closing down its social networking site, LinkedIn, in China, claiming that complying with Chinese government regulations has proven increasingly difficult to manage. After criticized for limiting the profiles of select journalists on its career-networking site, the company has now removed the restriction.
Later this year, LinkedIn will launch an exclusive jobs-only version of the site, known as InJobs. However, there will be no social feed, and there will be no way to share or upload articles.
“We’re dealing with a substantially more demanding working environment and increased compliance requirements in China,” wrote Mohak Shroff, senior vice president of LinkedIn, in a blog post.
Even though LinkedIn’s China-specific version will shut down later this year. The business stated in a statement that it plans to maintain a strong presence in the country to promote its new approach. And that it has “delighted” to debut the new InJobs app later this year.
LinkedIn was the only major Western social-media platform with a presence in China at the time. The company had agreed to comply with the requirements of the Chinese government in order to operate there when it first opened its doors in 2014. It had also promised to be transparent about how it conducted business in the country. And stated that it has opposed to government censorship when it first opened its doors in 2014.
LinkedIn has removed many journalistic accounts, including those of Melissa Chan. And Greg Bruno, from its China-based service, citing national security concerns.
‘I’m not startled,’ Bruno, a Tibetan refugee author who has written a book about China’s persecution of Tibetans, told Verdict. ‘But I’m concerned that an American technological company is submitting to the dictates of another country.’
In a letter to LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, US Senator Rick Scott decried the decision as “gross appeasement and an act of capitulation to Communist China,” according to Reuters.
China’s internet has become even more erratic
It’s difficult to tell if the pressure from China or the United States was the driving force behind LinkedIn’s decision. It’s possible that both are true, given the Chinese government’s increasing control over the internet. And the fact that LinkedIn has come under increasing fire in the United States for complying with Beijing’s censorship laws.
LinkedIn launched its Chinese edition in 2014, seeking to take advantage of the enormous market in the nation.
Seven years later, it continues to struggle against local competitors and has gotten into regulatory difficulties. In March, it has reported that LinkedIn had penalized by the Chinese government for failing to censor political content. With new user registration suspended for 30 days as a result of the failure. The platform has utilized by Chinese intelligence agents as a recruitment tool, in addition to being the subject of debate regarding censorships.
Lu Jian, President of LinkedIn China, wrote a letter to the platform’s users in China today. Promising that the site will continue to “connect worldwide business prospects.”
The suspension of LinkedIn in China, on the other hand, represents the reversal of this trend. The country’s tightly controlled internet has become increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. Making it increasingly difficult for multinational corporations doing business in China to bridge the vast chasm.