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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs