News / Asia

LinkedIn Faces Flak for Censoring on Behalf of China

FILE - LinkedIn's global headquarters in Mountain View, California.
FILE - LinkedIn's global headquarters in Mountain View, California.
A major international social networking company is being criticized for assisting with China’s aggressive censorship of matters concerning the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.
 
At the request of Chinese authorities, the professional connection site LinkedIn is removing content from member’s sites that reference the protests or their subsequent violent suppression.
 
The content, which can take the form of posts, messages or other comments, is being removed without the members’ permission.
 
When a VOA news report titled “Tens of Thousands Stage Tiananmen Anniversary Vigil in Hong Kong” was posted to a LinkedIn account, the user was informed shortly after of the takedown with the message “LinkedIn determined that recent public activity you posted (such as comments, items shared with your network, or activity in groups) contained content prohibited in China.”
 
Hani Durzy, director of corporate communications for LinkedIn told VOA by email that the firm strongly supports freedom of expression.
 
But, Durzy added, “it’s clear to us that in order to create value for our members in China and around the world, we will need to implement the Chinese government’s restrictions on content, when and to the extent required.”
 
“We will also continue to be transparent about how we conduct business in China and use multiple avenues to notify impacted members within China about our practices,” he said.
 
Some users have been openly critical of the policy.
 
The Wall Street Journal spoke with one user, Fergus Ryan, who had content removed regarding the arrest of artist Guo Jian, an associate of Ryan.
 
“I’m outraged by it,” Ryan told the Journal. “I think that LinkedIn needs to realize that in China, even more so than in other countries, when you want to talk about business, politics is unavoidable, they’re intertwined.”
 
There was initial confusion whether the content in question was actually being removed, or merely blocked for LinkedIn members specifically based in China.
 
That wasn’t initially made clear to LinkedIn user and Hong Kong-based publisher Andrew Work, CEO of New Work Media.
 
Initially, Work told VOA, LinkedIn informed him and a colleague that a column by Chris Yeung about Tiananmen “…had been removed. Later,” Work said, “another email came telling us it had been only blocked in China.”
 
LinkedIn estimates it has over 275 million members in 200 different nations.
 
In February of this year it expanded operations to China. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, writing in a blog post from that time, said that  “as a condition for operating in the country, the government of China imposes censorship requirements on Internet platforms. LinkedIn strongly supports freedom of expression and fundamentally disagrees with government censorship."
 
But, Weiner added, “At the same time, we also believe that LinkedIn’s absence in China would deny Chinese professionals a means to connect with others on our global platform, thereby limiting the ability of individual Chinese citizens to pursue and realize the economic opportunities, dreams and rights most important to them,” he wrote.

China already aggressively blocks all of Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Blogspot and many other social networking sites based outside the country.
 
LinkedIn is not blocked at all in China, due in part to the cooperative agreement LinkedIn management arrived at with Chinese authorities.
 
Publisher Work said a LinkedIn representative is due to speak on Friday on the topic of “LinkedIn for Journalists.”
 
“Should be entertaining,” Work said.

Doug Bernard

dbjohnson+voanews.com

Doug Bernard covers cyber-issues for VOA, focusing on Internet privacy, security and censorship circumvention. Previously he edited VOA’s “Digital Frontiers” blog, produced the “Daily Download” webcast and hosted “Talk to America”, for which he won the International Presenter of the Year award from the Association for International Broadcasting. He began his career at Michigan Public Radio, and has contributed to "The New York Times," the "Christian Science Monitor," SPIN and NPR, among others. You can follow him @dfrontiers.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
June 04, 2014 10:32 PM
HEARSAY? -- No matter what information anybody gets on what happened in Tiananmen Square, it has to be 'hearsay" -- (BECUSE?) -- there are no existing records anywhere in the world, to support the stories being told as being truthful....

RUMORS and more rumors, and made up stories, from people that saw just a fraction of what happened, and didn't see the whole event? -- (HOW many killed?) -- One, 5, 10, 100, 200, 1,000, nobody knows -- but it saved the Chinese government, from the violence, deaths, destruction and war that continues on today -- (like it does in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine, does it?) --- Caused by US, EU, and NATO interference?

In Response

by: The Facts from: China
June 21, 2014 5:06 AM
First off, it's not "hearsay" when there are videos and clear documentation of what happened. Second, China would not be like all the countries listed, but would probably look more like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan... which are all very stable countries with a great deal more freedom and stability than China has ever had under their ChiCom lords. I don't know where you got your information, but it sounds more like the propaganda taught in China's Communist schools than the actual truth.

In Response

by: Doug Bernard
June 05, 2014 8:41 AM
Meanbill: there are, in fact, contemporary records of the military crackdown in Tiananmen. There are fragmentary film clips, audio recordings, and the reporting of several correspondents who were there. The much larger problem is that the record is so fragmented, it's difficult to make concrete conclusions.


by: Terry from: Thomas
June 04, 2014 9:18 PM
When the Chinese Professionals get fed up with their governments restrictions maybe they will petition their government for change.

LinkedIn is motivated solely by greed.

"But, Weiner added, “At the same time, we also believe that LinkedIn’s absence in China would deny Chinese professionals a means to connect with others on our global platform, thereby limiting the ability of individual Chinese citizens to pursue and realize the economic opportunities, dreams and rights most important to them,” he wrote."


by: albert gobble
June 04, 2014 7:53 PM
Corporations would send us to the gas chamber if it was legal and they could make a profit. By the way, who do you think builds gas chambers?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid