Microsoft declares shutting down of LinkedIn in China amid internet crackdown

LinkedIn’s movements in China have been closely observed as a model for how a Western social networking platform could work within the country’s strictly controlled internet.

Microsoft Corp is shutting down LinkedIn in China almost seven years after its launch, marking the departure of the last major US-backed social platform in China as officials further stiffen their authority over the internet sector. On Thursday, LinkedIn announced in a blog post that it would succeed the platform later this year with a simpler version that only focuses on jobs, called “InJobs”, which would not constitute a social feed or share options.

“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,” LinkedIn said. “We’re also facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”

LinkedIn’s movements in China have been closely observed as a model for how a Western social networking platform could work within the country’s strictly controlled internet, where many other apps such as Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube are banned.

The platform was developed in China in 2014, recognising that the platform would have to censor some of the content users posted on its website to comply with Chinese rules. It has been amongst the firms hit over the past year by a crackdown by Beijing, which has inflicted new restrictions on its internet firms on ranges from content to customer privacy.

The Chinese government has noted the need for platforms to promote socialist values actively. In March, Linkedin halted new sign-ups in China, announcing that it was under the process of complying with Chinese laws. Two months later, amongst 105 apps, China’s top internet control illegally obtained and utilised personal information and directed rectifications.

Last month, news website Axios stated that LinkedIn had blocked the profiles of many US journalists and academics from its Chinese platform, which contained data China deems as sensitive, indicating “prohibited content”. Microsoft also maintains Bing, the only major foreign search engine accessible from China’s so-called Great Firewall, censoring search results on sensitive topics.

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