LinkedIn Accused of Censoring Profiles in China

LinkedIn Accused of Censoring Profiles in China

( – Microsoft’s LinkedIn is a social media platform aimed at building business relationships. It has sections to help people learn and expand their skills to increase the chance of landing a better job. Employers can post position openings, and potential employees can upload profiles and resumes. LinkedIn is active in many different countries, but how they handle things in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) prompted Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) to send them a letter asking the company two questions.

The Problem

The Asian country and its president, Xi Jinping, are not shy about displays of dictatorial power when it comes to anything that happens within its borders, especially those that tend to cast them in a poor light. Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) related one incident involving a Swedish writer named Jojje Olsson, who claimed LinkedIn scrubbed his profile from their Chinese version regarding the “Education section.”

Mr. Olsson had a single line entry about a thesis he wrote on the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, where the military and police entered an area packed with an estimated 1 million college students protesting the government and simply killed many of them — some estimate the number of dead to be in the thousands. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is very sensitive and secretive about the incident.

Olsson is not the only person allegedly banned in China by LinkedIn for this. Eyck Freymann, a doctoral student at Oxford, believes LinkedIn removed his profile in China for including reference to his work as a research assistant for a book on the massacre, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Congressman Banks noted Microsoft “is the only major American” tech firm with a large-scale presence in the country, which led him into some innuendo. He wondered how the company became so invested in China with the implication that “LinkedIn’s willingness to carry water for the Chinese regime” could very well be a major factor.

Hard Questions

Banks has asked the corporation to answer a couple of questions no later than October 14. The first question: Which regulations imposed by the CCP does the networking platform “enforce on American users?” The second query revolved around American user data and how much they have handed over to Beijing.

The New York Times published an article on March 18, reporting LinkedIn got in trouble with Chinese officials for not being stringent enough in their censorship of their 50 million or so users and was prohibited from signing up new members for 30 days. In a 2014 piece, the paper reported the company knew it would have to obey the dictates of the CCP to get a piece of this lucrative market, and it seems they continue to adhere to that position.

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