Newspaper article International New York Times

LinkedIn Begins to Block Posts in China ; Users Receiving Notices That Their Content Is 'Prohibited' in Mainland

Newspaper article International New York Times

LinkedIn Begins to Block Posts in China ; Users Receiving Notices That Their Content Is 'Prohibited' in Mainland

Article excerpt

Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on the Tiananmen protests, some LinkedIn users had complained that their posts were blocked.

LinkedIn, the career-focused online networking service, says it has begun complying with Chinese government censorship requirements for its mainland Chinese platform.

In the days before the sensitive 25th anniversary of the deadly crackdown on the Tiananmen protest movement, some LinkedIn users had complained about receiving notices from the company that their posts were blocked.

Charles Mok, a Hong Kong legislator, said he received a message from the company, which he posted on Twitter, saying his recent posts "contained content prohibited in China."

Mr. Mok said that he was uncertain which posts were blocked, but that they were likely related to the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and memorial events in Hong Kong. "As a user, I think this sort of censorship is uncalled for," he said. "It is not appropriate."

A follow-up email from LinkedIn said Mr. Mok's content "has been visible globally, with the exception of the People's Republic of China."

In a statement, Deepa Sapatnekar, a LinkedIn spokeswoman, said the company recognized that providing a localized version for China would require following government censorship requirements. "These requirements have just recently gone into effect," she said.

The question of whether to censor content to ensure access to the mainland Chinese market has vexed several major Internet companies. Twitter and Facebook are both blocked in China. Google once operated a search engine for the Chinese market that complied with mainland censorship requirements. It ceased its self-censorship of the Google.cn search engine in 2010, after four years of slow growth and a sophisticated hacking attack on its digital infrastructure. Google.cn now directs users to Google.hk, its Chinese-language site based in Hong Kong.

In recent days, there have been reports of Google experiencing extreme interference with access to its services from China, including search engines, Gmail, Calendar and other products that are generally accessible during less sensitive periods. …

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