LinkedIn announced this Thursday (14) that it will end its service in China and replace it with a local platform, with fewer functions, which will be launched later this year. The company justified itself by saying that it is “facing an increasingly challenging operating environment and increasing demands” in the Asian country.
Recently, the platform has received criticism for having blocked profiles of journalists, among others, in compliance with China’s demands.
In a publication on your official blog, LinkedIn said it recognized that to operate a local version of its professional profile network in China, it would have to adhere to the Chinese government’s requirements for online platforms. “While we strongly support freedom of expression, we take this approach to create value for our members in China and around the world,” said the US company owned by Microsoft.
The new app, called InJobs, will only focus on job postings in China and will not have the sharing and commenting functions on publications or articles. The internet is tightly controlled by the communist regime, and other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in the country.
LinkedIn started operating in China in 2014, seeking to be a model for other foreign internet companies to operate in the Chinese market, which suffers from extensive censorship by the regime. To operate in the country, the company agreed to censor posts made by Chinese users to comply with local laws. So far, LinkedIn is the only major Western social network operating in the Asian country.
LinkedIn blocked several profiles of US journalists from its platform in China in September, citing “prohibited content”. The account of the American journalist Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, from the Axios portal, was one of the affected.
The journalist reported that she received an email from LinkedIn informing her that the company was blocking her profile from being viewed in China due to “forbidden content” in her profile summary. Other journalists covering China-related issues, as well as academics, researchers, government officials, and others, have received similar messages in recent months.
“We are a global platform that respects the laws that apply to us, including adhering to Chinese government regulations for our localized version of LinkedIn in China,” LinkedIn said in a statement to Axios. “For members whose profile visibility is limited in China, profiles are still visible in the rest of the world where LinkedIn is available.”
Journalists said the company did not respond to questions about what content led to censorship.