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LinkedIn Political Content Annoys China

 


Professional networking site LinkedIn has been hit by a problem in China, where a failure to control political content caused the country's internet regulator to reprimand the company's CEO this month.

LinkedIn is the only U.S. social network allowed to operate in China, and the Microsoft-owned service monitors publications posted by millions of Chinese users.

It is not clear what political content has caused problems for LinkedIn, which has more than 50 million members.

The New York Times reported that the regulator said it had found rejected publications circulating around the annual meeting of Chinese lawmakers.

As a punishment, officials are asking LinkedIn to conduct a self-assessment and report to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's Internet regulator.

The service has also been forced to suspend new subscriptions for users within China for 30 days, although this period may change depending on the management's ruling.

Last week, professional networking site LinkedIn said it was temporarily suspending the registration of new members in China as the company works to ensure its compliance with local law.

China is known to strongly regulate and censor the use of the local Internet and actively prohibit any sites or links perceived as contrary to the Communist Party's narrative.

The country has the most advanced control systems in the world known as the Great Firewall, and the number of blocked sites in China has swelled over the years and reached 10,000 in November.

The Chinese government controls the media through technologies including blocking IP addresses, DNS attacks, and filtering specific URLs and keywords within URLs.

The blacklist includes social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and news outlets such as Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and popular collaboration tools, such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

In 2016, Freedom House ranked China last year out of 65 countries, accounting for 88 percent of the world's Internet users.

The punishment highlights deep divisions between the United States and China over how the Internet works.

Critics say such barriers demonstrate China's unwillingness to follow global standards governing the Internet and technology more broadly.

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