LinkedIn closes in China, replaced by a new app called InJobs

What happened now? Microsoft recently announced that the Chinese-localized version of LinkedIn would be shutting down after seven years of continuous operation. The news comes four months after human rights defenders, academics and journalists reported that their LinkedIn profiles were blocked in China, preventing them from accessing their accounts.

LinkedIn was launched in China back in 2014 with a localized version of the app to meet the Chinese government’s requirements. China’s LinkedIn app worked as expected for seven consecutive years, helping many Chinese people find jobs. However, the Chinese government found the social side of the app to be problematic.

In March 2021, China advised LinkedIn (read Microsoft) has had 30 days to “better regulate” the content presented by the platform, but judging by the results, it looks like not much has been done to improve the situation. After a few months, some users started getting notifications informing them that their profiles have been blocked for containing illegal content.

Today LinkedIn announced it would replace the default application with a new one called InJobs. This application will solely aim to “help Chinese professionals find jobs in China and Chinese companies find quality candidates,” avoiding any potential social problems it may cause. The new InJobs app, slated to launch later this year, will not include social media features such as feed or the ability to post and post.

Banning LinkedIn isn’t the first time Microsoft has had to comply with China’s demands. In 2016, Microsoft released a unique version of Windows 10 with “additional controls and security” exclusively for China.

Apart from Microsoft, many other big tech companies have closed their services in China, largely due to the Chinese government’s censorship rules. These include Facebook and Twitter in 2009 and Google in 2010. In 2021, the Signal messaging app and the Clubhouse social audio app were also blocked.

Since LinkedIn is located outside of China, Amazon’s review system and Github are the only overseas platforms allowed to post user generated content in the country. However, given how things are going with China, which is battling tech companies by suppressing gaming and cryptocurrencies, we wouldn’t be surprised if this operation expands to other areas.

Image Credit: Greg Bulla, Suvik Banerjee

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