Microsoft Censors LinkedIn to Protect Communist China

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/Getty

Scholars on the Microsoft-owned business networking platform LinkedIn are reportedly being censored in China without being informed why.

The Wall Street Journareports that scholars are being censored across Microsoft’s business networking and social media platform LinkedIn. The WSJ notes that Oxford University doctoral student Eyck Freymann recently received a notice from LinkedIn stating that his account had been blocked in China as the “Experience” section of his profile included “prohibited” content in the country.

It was not detailed what elements of his “Experience” section had violated Chinese law but Freymann stated that he thinks it may be due to including the words “Tiananmen Square massacre” in the entry for his two-year stint as a research assistant for a book in 2015.

The WSJ writes:

The academic is one of a spate of LinkedIn users whose profiles have been blocked in recent weeks. The Wall Street Journal identified at least 10 other individuals who had their profiles blocked or posts removed from the China version of LinkedIn since May, including researchers in Jerusalem and Tokyo, journalists, a U.S. congressional staffer and an editor based in Beijing who posted state media reports about elephants rampaging across China.

A LinkedIn spokeswoman said in a statement that while the company supports freedom of expression, offering a localized version of LinkedIn in China means adherence to censorship requirements of the Chinese government on internet platforms. The company didn’t comment on whether its actions were proactive or in response to requests from Chinese authorities.

LinkedIn made a trade off to accept Chinese censorship when it entered China in 2014 and has typically censored human-rights activists and deleted content focused on posts deemed sensitive to the Chinese government. The recent dragnet stands out for having caught several academics in its path, resulting in the deletion of entire profiles instead of individual posts.

In March, China’s internet regulator summoned LinkedIn officials to better regulate its content, according to WSJ sources. LinkedIn was given 30 days to clean up the content and promised to better regulate its site going forward.

LinkedIn received 42 requests from Chinese authorities last year to take down content, the most the company received in any country, according to its semiannual transparency reports. It removed 38.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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