Microsoft to shut LinkedIn China, citing ‘challenging’ operating environment

Microsoft’s Linkedin is shutting down the version of its professional networking site that operates in China, marking the last major U.S. social network to pull out of the country. 

LinkedIn said in a statement on Thursday that it made the decision in light of “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.” The company will sunset the localized version of LinkedIn later this year. 

In March, LinkedIn said it would temporarily pause new member registrations in China as it ensured it complies with local laws. At the same time, China’s internet regulator told LinkedIn officials to better regulate their content and gave them 30 days to do so, according to people familiar with the matter. In recent months, LinkedIn has notified China-focused human rights activists, academics, and journalists that their profiles were being blocked in China due to containing prohibited content.

“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.

LinkedIn said it would replace the platform later this year with InJobs, a new, standalone jobs application for China. InJobs will not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles. 

LinkedIn’s exit is the latest in the struggle faced by Western internet companies operating in China, which has some of the strictest censorship rules in the world. Twitter and Facebook’s platforms have been blocked since 2009. Google left in 2010 after refusing to censor results on its search engine. Signal and voice discussion app Clubhouse were also blocked this year.

In August, The Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced that 43 apps including Tencent’s messaging and social media app WeChat violated the country’s data transfer rules. 

Written by Sophie Blake

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