A Republican Congressman has called out LinkedIn for censoring Americans on behalf of China. The Microsoft-owned platform is the only major US-based social networking site allowed in China.
Chairman of the Republican Study Committee in Congress, Rep. Jim Banks, blasted LinkedIn for caving to pressure from Beijing by censoring the accounts of Americans who are critical of China.
Banks sent a letter to LinkedIn on Friday demanding answers.
“LinkedIn is pressuring U.S. citizens to remove posts critical of China's dictatorship because, apparently, ‘regional laws' compel them to do Xi's bidding,” Banks told the Washington Examiner.
“That's a lie – LinkedIn is simply selling out America's values and national security in order to boost its bottom line. LinkedIn needs to pick a side. Either serve the Communist Party or support the United States,” Banks added.
Related: LinkedIn censors Swedish journalist’s profile in China after he references Tiananmen Square thesis
At least 100 American LinkedIn profiles have been banned in China in recent months, allegedly for containing anti-China content in the “Experience” and “Education” sections.
Banks noted that LinkedIn is complying to Beijing's censorship demands yet it was not clear what the company was doing to stop Chinese espionage agencies from using LinkedIn to recruit Americans, which is illegal.
The letter also references a previous statement by LinkedIn, defending its censorship because it has “an obligation to respect the laws that apply to us, including adhering to Chinese government regulations for our localized version of LinkedIn in China.”
In the letter, Banks asks LinkedIn about the censorship, demanding to know what censorship regulations from China it enforces on US-based users. Banks also asks LinkedIn if it has ever handed any user data to the Chinese government.