Microsoft operates a localized version of LinkedIn for their Chinese users that follows the strict Chinese laws on social media and communication. Microsoft has always had a stance that they do not support these violations of free speech, but continue to operate their services in the nation where allowed. LinkedIn had a local Chinese version before Microsoft acquired the platform in 2016 and Microsoft had continued to support the service over the years.
However, it seems like that is changing as the 2014 Chinese LinkedIn service is coming to an end as Microsoft stated it faces “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements”. It does not seem like the service is leaving the country for good as the company plans to launch a modified version of LinkedIn, called InJobs, that will lack a social feed and other social features.
LinkedIn was the last U.S. based social media site operating in China and according to GeekWire, it just passed $10 billion in annual revenue globally as a platform. There is also a bunch of reports from multiple sources that the Chinese LinkedIn has been banning numerous journalists and other accounts due to China's demands. Perhaps the company has drawn a line and would no longer punish those trying to use their platform or perhaps the demands were simply too much work to keep up with.
We could hope the loss of the last major U.S. social platform turns the tide of China's crackdown on free speech, but it would be doubtful to say the least.
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