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Microsoft has shut down the Chinese version of LinkedIn

Microsoft has decided to wind down the localised Chinese version of its business-orientated social media network after seven years.

While it can admittedly alert you to helpful job advertisements, sometimes being on LinkedIn can feel like being stuck in a lift with the kind of enthusiastic but dead-eyed corporate drones you had previously thought only existed in dated Soviet propaganda films decrying the evils of capitalism.

Now, Chinese citizens face losing this dubious privilege according to an official announcement from Microsoft, following tightening government restrictions in the country that make its career-driven social media network look like a sunny utopia by comparison.

In a blog post, Microsoft revealed that it will shut down its localised version of LinkedIn in China, instead replacing it with a new platform named ‘InJobs’.

The announcement explained that LinkedIn had necessitated “adherence to requirements of the Chinese government on Internet platforms”, a compromise that the company had accepted “in order to create value for our members in China and around the world.” As an example of such ‘adherence’, the BBC reports that LinkedIn has previously blacklisted the accounts of several journalists in China, including those of Melissa Chan and Greg Bruno.

While Microsoft claims to have succeeded in “helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunity” during its period of operation in the country since February 2014, it is now facing “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.” 

Microsoft will now launch InJobs as an alternative in China, which will not offer “a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles”, but will still function as a job searching network. That may mean fewer glib motivational posts from a spectrum of profiles running from the likes of David Brent to the likes of Patrick Bateman, but it also means less freedom of speech and a Chinese internet that diverges ever further from other parts of the world.



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