China punishes Microsoft’s LinkedIn over lax censorship

LinkedIn has been the lone major American social network allowed to operate in China. To do so, the Microsoft-owned service for professionals censors the posts made by its millions of Chinese users. Now for some reason, LinkedIn is in trouble too. On March 9, LinkedIn posted a statement saying it had “temporarily” stopped registering new users in China.

China’s internet regulator rebuked LinkedIn executives earlier this month for failing to control political content, according to three people briefed on the matter. Though it isn’t clear precisely what material got the company into trouble, since the regulator said it found objectionable posts circulating in the period around an annual meeting of China’s lawmakers, said the three people who also requested anonymity.

As a punishment, the people said, officials are requiring LinkedIn to perform a self-evaluation and offer a report to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator. LinkedIn’s presence in China has long drawn interest across Silicon Valley as a potential path into the country’s walled-off internet, home to the world’s largest group of web users.

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