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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid