Skip to content

LinkedIn, the Last Western Social Media Company in China, Pulls Out

LinkedIn, Microsoft’s social media platform for the workplace, withdrew from Chinese markets on August 9, officially closing the Chinese version of the LinkedIn application.

LinkedIn’s 2014 debut in China came on the heels of Google’s withdrawal from the country in 2010. Google withdrew following the company’s refusal to comply with the Chinese communist regime’s demands that Google censor the content available in China.

LinkedIn took the opposite approach of Google, opting for cooperation with the Chinese regime, implementing censorship mechanisms for the platform. LinkedIn users saw some postings on the platform (e.g. mentioning 1989 the Tiananmen Massacre) deleted by LinkedIn.

The communist regime’s control of the platform gradually became tighter and tighter. In March 2021, the New York Times reported that Chinese regulators had criticized LinkedIn’s executives for failing to control content when they discovered “sensitive” posts during China’s National People’s Congress. As punishment, China required LinkedIn to conduct a “self-assessment” and submit a report to China’s Central Internet Information Office.

LinkedIn’s latest Transparency Report, released in 2023, showed that the Chinese government made 43 requests to LinkedIn to remove content in 2021. LinkedIn complied with all of these requests except one. The number of removal requests was similar in 2020, following relatively lower numbers of requests in 2018 and 2019.

LinkedIn announced in October 2021 that it would remove several features from the Chinese version of its website, including the ability to make posts and interact with user-generated content. Without these social functions, LinkedIn became merely a resume-hosting website and saw its user base decline.

Source: Voice of America, August 8, 2023