Microsoft pulls the plug on LinkedIn in China amid rigid scrutiny

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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American multinational technology company, Microsoft is shutting down the version of its professional networking site, LinkedIn, in China, marking the end of the last major American social-media network operating openly in the country.

In its blog post, LinkedIn stated that it made the decision after “facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”

Later this year, LinkedIn would replace the platform with a stripped-down version, called InJobs, that would focus only on jobs and won’t include 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.

Microsoft’s move comes at a time when China’s Communist Party is tightening up its control over its largest tech companies, private enterprises and online commentary, as it continues a campaign to assert itself more forcefully across the economy and Chinese society.

The social media site’s exit is the latest in the series of struggles Western internet companies have faced operating in China, which has some of the world’s most stringent censorship rules. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in 2009 and Google left the Chinese market in 2010.

In 2014, the platform expanded in China, acknowledging at the time that the company would have to censor some of the content users posted on its website to comply with Chinese rules. It has been among the companies hit over the past year by a wide-ranging crackdown by Beijing, which has imposed fresh curbs on its internet companies on areas from content to customer privacy.

LinkedIn paused new signups in China earlier this year, saying that it was working to be compliant with Chinese laws. Later, it 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.

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