Microsoft announces a plan to shut down LinkedIn in China. LinkedIn is recognized as professional networking and career development platform which connects job seekers who post their CVs and employers who post jobs. LinkedIn was acquired in 2016 by Microsoft at an estimated value of about $26.2 billion. Plans to shut down LinkedIn in China have been for no other reason other than the “challenges” of complying with Beijing’s censorship rules. LinkedIn says “We’re also facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”
The career-focused social networking platform has received serious criticism for its role in censoring posts and profiles from Western journalists that were believed to be an abuse of Communist Party rules. A Journalists called Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, who covers China for online news site Axios, have been informed that their accounts were being censored inside the country “due to the presence of prohibited content”. LinkedIn’s operation within China’s tightly regulated internet has been severely criticized. Various social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have been long banned within the country.
In the meantime, LinkedIn promises it will be rolling out a new website that won’t have the ability for users to share posts. LinkedIn said, “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.” Microsoft announces that the new site would be created for the Chinese market and would be called InJobs. Microsoft says InJobs will focus only on jobs and “will not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles” and thus offer no opportunity to offend Chinese authorities. The company has suffered a wide range of crackdowns in areas of content and consumer privacy.
According to Reuters, in March, LinkedIn reportedly paused new sign-ups in China, saying that it was working to be compliant with Chinese laws. Within 2 months later, the networking app was among 105 apps that were accused by China’s top internet regulator of illegally collecting and using personal information and was ordered to make rectifications. The government of Chinese has warned that social platforms operating within China have to actively promote core socialist values.
Data from research firm Statista have shown that the republic of China is LinkedIn’s third-largest market. In July, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella disclosed that LinkedIn contributed about $10 billion in annual revenue.