China Punishes Microsoft’s LinkedIn Over Lax Censorship

LinkedIn has been the only major US social network allowed to operate in China. To do this, a Microsoft-owned service for professionals Censored post It has been created by millions of Chinese users.

Now, it is in hot water for not having enough sensors.

China’s Internet regulator reprimanded LinkedIn officials earlier this month for failing to control political content, according to three people on the subject. While it is unclear exactly what material caused the company trouble, the regulator said it found objectionable posts revolving around the period. An annual meeting Chinese lawmakers said that these people, who did not ask for names because the issue is not public.

As a punishment, the people said, LinkedIn is required by the authorities to conduct a self-assessment and to present a report to China’s cyberspace administration of the country’s Internet regulator. The service was also forced to suspend new sign-ups of users inside China for 30 days, one of the people added, although that time period may change depending on the administration’s decision.

The CAC did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

LinkedIn’s presence in China has led to a long-standing interest in Silicon Valley as a possible route into the country Internet off, Home to the world’s largest group of web users. The sentence underscores the deep divide between the United States and China of how the Internet should work.

Over the years, the Chinese government has blocked major US services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google due to its inability to control what is there. In Washington, critics say Such obstacles There are signs of China’s reluctance to follow the global norms governing the Internet and technology more widely.

LinkedIn’s China service, which has more than 50 million members, makes it vulnerable to tensions between the two powers. The run-in with the regulator came a few weeks before Thursday Scheduled meeting Between the Chinese and American officials in Alaska, the Biden administration sits face-to-face.

Competition on technology has been a Key sticking point Between the two countries. The Biden administration has said that it will turn to the allied countries to put pressure on China’s technical policies. Chinese authorities have put forward new plans for technical self-sufficiency, including developing their own versions of everything from computer chips to jetliners.

Concerns in Washington were recently heightened by a hack called Microsoft Temporarily attached to china Aimed at businesses and government agencies that used the company’s email services.

On March 9, LinkedIn Posted a statement To say that it was “temporarily” stopped registering new users in China. “We are a global platform for our localized version of LinkedIn in China with the obligation to respect those laws, including following Chinese government regulations,” the statement said.

Local Chinese firms routinely bear similar scolding, showing how difficult it can be to navigate an Internet market characterized by sometimes stringent speech controls. On the Chinese Internet, an agreement for censors does not guarantee seamless sailing for any firm, foreign or local.

When it was first announced Open a Chinese site About seven years ago, LinkedIn sparked curiosity from an American Internet industry, banned by the country’s great firewall, as the nickname for China’s censorship system. To ensure its presence, LinkedIn sold a stake to well-connected Chinese venture capital partners and pledged to follow local laws, including worship guidelines.

The company has used a combination of software algorithms and human reviewers to flag posts that may offend Beijing. Users who follow the speech rules are usually notified by email that their post is not viewable by LinkedIn members in China.

Its initial efforts attracted ire from users whose content was blocked even though they were posting from outside the country. Nevertheless, unlike its peers, LinkedIn remains in China and has offered a tantalizing case study in market access.

That persistence did not always translate into success. LinkedIn has had a difficult time competing with WeChat, the ubiquitous Chinese chat and social media service, and remains a relatively good player.

The environment has become even more difficult. Since he took over the reins of the Communist Party in late 2012, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has applied a variety of cracks on the Internet. Mr. Xi’s policies have called for deep economic self-sufficiency and advancing Western culture, a setback for a service that appeals to Chinese professionals to connect with the world.

Mr. Xi presides over the growing power of the CAC, which penalizes regulatory LinkedIn. It has become a de facto ministry of censorship, suppressing memes and complaints on the Internet around the country, and calls for takedowns when companies’ censors miss something.

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