LinkedIn, the social networking service for professionals and businesses to find new employees is one of the biggest social media platforms on the planet after the likes of Facebook which is trying to be the jack of all trades and Twitter.
However, the company which is one of the very few western media companies still being allowed in China is facing a gruesome level of censorship by the authority of the country.
Reports have it that the site has faced questions for blocking the profiles of some journalists.
The company has however claimed it can no longer keep up with the constant changes in policy especially with the political climate in the country hence the shutdown.
Microsoft which owns LinkedIn has taken the decision to launch a jobs-only version of the platform in China and it’s called InJobs.
The new website will be launched later this year and will exclude the social networking capability such as content creation, shares, and social feeds.
LinkedIn senior vice-president Mohak Shroff blogged: “We’re facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”
And the firm said in a statement: “While we are going to sunset the localized version of LinkedIn in China later this year, we will continue to have a strong presence in China to drive our new strategy and are excited to launch the new InJobs app later this year.”
With big western tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google all blocked in China, LinkedIn’s existence in the country is still a mystery until now.
After it was finally granted permission to operate in China back in 2014, the company made it known that it would adhere to the regulations and requirements of the Chinese government even though it promised to be transparent about its business conducts in the country and made it clear that it disagrees with government censorship.
However, the sudden blacklisting of several journalist accounts including popular figures like Melissa Chan and Greg Bruno from its China-based website made a lot wonder whether LinkedIn adhered to not being in support of Government censorship.
Greg Bruno is one of the many vocal journalists who have had the gut to speak against the ill-treatment of ethnic minorities in China one of which are the Tibetan refugees.
According to him, he said he wasn’t surprised that the Chinese Communist Party disliked what he has but was “dismayed that an American tech company is caving into the demands of a foreign government”.
US senator Rick Scott called the move a “gross appeasement and an act of submission to Communist China”, in a letter to LinkedIn chief executive Ryan Roslansky and Microsoft boss Satya Nadella.
One thing that is yet unclear though is that LinkedIn’s sudden move could’ve been due to pressure from the Chinese government or the US government or maybe both.
China for example is known as one of the most censored countries in the world aside from rogue North Korea and lately, there’s been a massive crackdown on several industries in China with the country’s government continuously tightening its grip on the country’s internet.
Multiple regulations and steep competition from local companies could have also caused this one of which includes the March regulatory problem when it was asked to censor political content which later led to the suspension of new user registration for about 30 days.
Another instance is that the platform has been used by Chinese intelligence agencies as a recruitment tool.
In a letter to the platform’s users in China today, President of LinkedIn China Lu Jian pledges that the site will continue to “connect global business opportunities”.