LinkedIn said on Thursday that it was shutting down its professional networking service in China later this year, citing “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements.”
The service, which is owned by Microsoft, said it would offer a new app focused solely on job postings in China. The new app will not have social networking features such as sharing posts and commenting, which have been critical to LinkedIn’s success in the United States and elsewhere.
LinkedIn’s move ends what had been one of the most far-reaching experiments by a foreign social network in China, where the internet is closely controlled by the government. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in the country for years, and Google pulled out more than a decade ago. China’s internet, which operates behind a system of filters known as the Great Firewall, is heavily censored and has gone in its own direction.
When LinkedIn expanded in China in 2014 with a localized service, it offered a tentative model for other major foreign internet companies looking to tap the country’s huge, lucrative and highly censored market. The company partnered with a well-connected venture capital firm, which it said would help it with government relations.
But to do business in China, LinkedIn also agreed to censor the posts made by its millions of Chinese users in accordance with Chinese laws, something that other American companies were often reluctant or unable to do. Even in 2014, LinkedIn acknowledged the challenge, saying, “LinkedIn strongly supports freedom of expression and fundamentally disagrees with government censorship. At the same time, we also believe that LinkedIn’s absence in China would deny Chinese professionals a means to connect with others.”
Seven years on, it has become apparent the experiment did not work. No major internet platform has followed in LinkedIn’s footsteps. Its business in China struggled as it ran up against major local competitors and a population skeptical about publicly listing valuable contacts.
The operating environment in China has also become more difficult. Since President Xi Jinping took the reins of the Communist Party in 2012, he has repeatedly cracked down on what can be said online. Presiding over the rising power of the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator, Mr. Xi turned China’s internet from a place where some sensitive topics were censored to one where critics face arrests for a constantly shifting set of infractions, like jokes at Mr. Xi’s expense.
In March, the regulator rebuked LinkedIn for failing to control political content, three people briefed on the matter said at the time. Officials required LinkedIn to perform a self-evaluation and offer a report. The service was also forced to suspend new sign-ups of users inside China for 30 days.
The site also suffered as the U.S. relationship with China soured, with anger about LinkedIn’s complicity in China’s information controls rising in Washington. In recent months, after LinkedIn stopped displaying the profiles of several activists and journalists in China, American lawmakers criticized the company.
In one letter last month, Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, wrote to Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, demanding to know why it had censored the accounts of three journalists. Mr. Scott called the censorship “gross appeasement and an act of submission to Communist China.”
LinkedIn’s business has also grown, with China contributing minimally. Since Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in 2016, revenue from the business has tripled. Mr. Nadella told investors in July that LinkedIn’s revenue had surpassed $10 billion in annual sales, up 27 percent from the previous year.
LinkedIn declined to comment beyond its announcement.
While Microsoft has tried to build a market in China for more than a decade, it has had only modest success. Last year, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, said the country accounted for less than 2 percent of its revenue.
Microsoft Windows and Office are common in China, but a large number are using pirated copies. The company has tried to overcome the issue, by hosting its software online and by tapping a major Chinese military contractor to help it offer an operating system better trusted by China’s government. Microsoft’s Bing search engine, one of China’s last remaining portals to the global internet, briefly appeared to have been blocked by government censors in 2019, even though the service directed users in China to state media accounts on disputed topics like the Dalai Lama.
It remains unclear precisely what will happen to the millions of Chinese user accounts on LinkedIn. In the past, when foreign internet firms have stopped offering locally censored services, their sites have been quickly blocked by the government.
Twitter Recommended Conditions To Lift Suspension Will Be Applicable To Other Social Media Platforms- FG
The Federal Government says the recommended conditions for the lifting of the suspension imposed on the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter will be applicable to all Over-The-Top and other social media platforms in Nigeria.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Monday when he featured on a phone-in programme of TV Continental, “This Morning, ’’ monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The minister, who did not disclose the recommendations by the Federal Government ministerial negotiation team to engage with Twitter on the suspension, said its report would be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mohammed, who headed the team, however, reiterated that the engagements with the microblogging and social media platform had been positive and fruitful.
“All I can say is that the recommendations we are going to make will not only be applicable to Twitter but they will be applicable to all OTTs and other social media platforms in Nigeria.
“Today, we are dealing with Twitter, we don’t want a situation where we will be dealing with Facebook tomorrow and Instagram the next day. Our recommendations will be very comprehensive.
“You will recall that during the 61st Independence anniversary celebration, the president said Twitter will return to Nigeria as soon as they meet the conditions of government.
“Even last night, the ministerial team met under my chairmanship and we reviewed the position of things.
“I want to say that we should wait for the committee to officially give its reports to the president but things are looking very positive and rosy.
“After submitting our reports and recommendations to the president, I will be disposed to say what we agreed and what have been met and what has not been met,’’ he said.
NAN reports that following the indefinite suspension of its operations in Nigeria for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence, Twitter had written to the president seeking engagement over the suspension.
The president subsequently set up the ministerial team led by Mohammed, with other members including Ministers of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and that of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to dialogue with Twitter over its suspension.
Other members are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami as well as Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige and that of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
How Facebook is Expanding Connectivity to Get 1 Billion People Online
Today, Facebook has announced new connectivity technologies that will bring the next billion people online and enhance existing infrastructure projects.
Since 2013, Facebook Connectivity has helped bring more than 500M people online to a faster internet and now aims to enable affordable, high-quality connectivity for the next billion people with emerging technologies.
Commenting on the new connectivity technologies, Dan Rabinovitsj, VP of Facebook Connectivity said, “ We have seen that economies flourish when there is widely accessible internet for individuals and businesses. In Nigeria, increased broadband connectivity resulted in a 7.8 percent increase in the likelihood of employment for people in areas connected to fiber optic cables. While increased connectivity led to a 19 percent increase in GDP per capita in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Facebook Connectivity works with partners to develop new technologies for access to high speed internet. Today we’re sharing the latest developments on some of these connectivity technologies, which aim to deliver major improvements in internet capacity across the world by sea, land, and air.”
Some of Facebook’s new connectivity technologies include: Investment in improving subsea fiber optic cables and expanding their reach to better connect more people. Facebook and its partners recently launched the first-ever transatlantic, 24 fiber pair subsea cable system which will connect Europe to the U.S. This new cable provides 200 times more capacity than the transatlantic cables of the 2000s and builds on Facebook’s recent news about 2Africa Pearls, the subsea cable which connects Africa, Asia, and Europe and makes the 2Africa cable system the longest in the world, with a capacity to provide connectivity for up to 3 billion people.
Using robotics for faster fibe deployment. We are making fiber deployment significantly more economical through Bombyx, a robot that can climb the medium voltage power lines that already exist in so much of the world, and install fiber onto them. Today, Bombyx is lighter, faster, and more agile than our first generation design. We are also making Bombyx fully autonomous, using machine vision sensors to better navigate around obstacles. Bombyx aims to make the single biggest drop in the cost of terrestrial fiber deployment by combining innovations in the fields of robotics and fiber-optic cable design to increase the amount of terrestrial fiber on land — without the expense of trenching to lay fiber underground.
Terragraph: Fiber connections through the air- Terragraph, a wireless solution which beams fiber-like connectivity through the air, has already brought high-speed internet to more than 6,500 homes in Anchorage, Alaska and deployment has started in Perth, Australia. We license Terragraph for free to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). To date, these partners have shipped more than 30,000 Terragraph units to more than 100 service providers and system integrators around the world.
Facebook Downtime Plunges Zuckerberg’s Wealth by $7B in Few Hours
Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has fallen by nearly $7 billion in a few hours, knocking him down a notch on the list of the world’s richest people, after a whistleblower came forward and outages took Facebook’s flagship products offline.
A selloff sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting around 5% on Monday, adding to a drop of about 15% since mid-September.
The stock slide on Monday sent Zuckerberg’s worth down to $120.9 billion, dropping him below Bill Gates to No. 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s lost about $19 billion of wealth since Sept. 13, when he was worth nearly $140 billion, according to the index.
On 13 September, the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of stories based on a cache of internal documents, revealing that Facebook knew about a wide range of problems with its products — such as Instagram’s harm to teenage girls’ mental health and misinformation about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — while downplaying the issues in public. The reports have drawn the attention of government officials, and on Monday, the whistleblower revealed herself.
In response, Facebook has emphasized that the issues facing its products, including political polarisation, are complex and not caused by technology alone.
“I think it gives people comfort to assume that there must be a technological or a technical explanation for the issues of political polarisation in the United States,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, told CNN.
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