A few days ago, Axios reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian who covered China for the online news website and wrote each week’s Axios China newsletter — awoke to discover an alarming-sounding message from LinkedIn Waiting for her to be online. Due to unspecified information and activities that were deemed to be unacceptable to be considered inappropriate in China, LinkedIn informed her that “your profile and your public activity, such as your comments and that you share with your network, will not be made viewable in China.” The social network said Allen-Ebrahimian can collaborate to limit the negative consequences of this decision and is pleased to look into the accessibility of her profile to China if she changes the page’s “Summary section.”
However, LinkedIn’s message abruptly transferred the responsibility again to the user. “The decision is to update your profile is yours.”
Allen-Ebrahimian was one of a handful of US journalists who received the same notice via LinkedIn this week. On a more serious note, it is set against the background of other US businesses and services such as Apple, Google, and YouTube complying with similar demands from other nations.
Apple and Google, for instance, recently removed a voting app from their respective apps stores that were created by those who support imprisoned Putin opponent Aleksei Navalny. Concerning Navalny, YouTube also took off one of his advertisements for the recent Russian legislative election. However, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was coy in an interview with Bloomberg on whether the action was done at the direction of Russian government officials. Russian government.
However, the LinkedIn incident is noteworthy because it is a subsidiary of a publicly traded company with a US base censoring US journalists. That is, they are acting as an oppressive regime.
This turn of events has attracted lawmakers’ ire, including the US Republican Senator. Rick Scott of Florida wrote to the top executives at Microsoft and LinkedIn on Thursday. Microsoft as well as LinkedIn on Thursday, requesting answers. The letter reads in the second paragraph, “I am deeply concerned that an American company is actively restricting access to American journalists for the benefit of members of China’s Chinese Communist Party.
“Members of the media report information that is critical to helping Americans, including members of Congress, understand the scope of Communist China’s abuses, especially its abuses against and surveillance of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.”
LinkedIn’s reaction to all this is a re-iteration of the unsatisfying, frequently repeated stance other American multinationals have to make similar sour compromises to conduct business in different countries. In a statement to Forbes, LinkedIn noted that “We’re an international platform that adheres to the laws that govern us, which includes following Chinese rules for localized versions that we offer on LinkedIn for China. For those whose visibility is restricted within China, the profiles of these members remain accessible to the world wherever LinkedIn is accessible.”It also includes other journalists such as Greg Bruno, who wrote Blessings from Beijing: Inside China’s Soft-Power War on Tibet. He noted that he was the author in his LinkedIn profile, which earned him the exact message from the company Allen-Ebrahimian received this week. The same was the case for VICE reporter Melissa Chan, who tweeted that, while she’s not sure what prompted the decision against her LinkedIn profile, The reason could be a myriad of factors such as “from this year’s article about the Uyghurs who are exiled to my article about the democratic process … The whole, “you did something wrong, but we’re not going to say precisely what’s wrong’ is classic PRC authoritarianism in reality.”
Perhaps the most distinct aspect of all this is the suggestion made by LinkedIn — which is, in fact, part of a publicly traded firm that journalists affected by its actions may self-censor their profile to address the issue. By changing or deleting certain aspects of their shape, which the world might otherwise see, to ensure it is appealing to Chinese regulators and censors.
Similar to the above, What’s not entirely clear in this case — and that is another thing that’s extremely disturbing in the mess pile is the extent to which LinkedIn did the same thing against journalists last week, which is carried out in response to a request from an official or bureau in China. Chinese Bureau or official. It is also unclear if LinkedIn took action independently, having possibly been given an unofficial list of terms, topics, and other topics to search for and remove off its platform.
Suzanne Nossel is the CEO of PEN America. This New York City-based organization aims to promote “free expression in the United States and worldwide” by helping to advance the written word and human rights. The organization issued a statement blaming LinkedIn’s behavior and said that it should serve as an alarm to everyone. “If LinkedIn’s conduct is accepted as normal and accepted, it signals to all companies around the world that it’s normal to implement Beijing’s demands for censorship worldwide. It’s an illuminating red light that is unless large tech companies like LinkedIn that Microsoft controls can stand up to censorship, freedom of speech around the world will be affected.”