Apple is that hardware company has been allowed to remain and sell big in China’s vast, to say the least, market – but would it surprise you to learn that out of all major US social media networks, it is only LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, that is allowed to work in mainland China’s massive and super lucrative online market?
LinkedIn in present where Google (other than third-party ad partners), Facebook, or Twitter, would only dream to be.
What did Microsoft have to do to achieve that? This will not surprise you at all. Microsoft adhered to Beijing’s censorship around a host of issues, and just in general made “sacrifices” in order to continue to operate and make huge money in this market of a billion+ customers.
Well, that’s quite a feat that the company founded and led for many years by Bill Gates has pulled off, where most, if not all other western tech giants have failed – but now reports say that LinkedIn too, might be in hot water.
It might sound confusing, but this time the accusations of “not doing enough” to censor are not coming from the US mainstream media, but from China’s internet regulators.
There’s more disturbing similarities. Just like the EU came up, two years ago, with a scheme that would have tech giants adhere to a “code of conduct” and do it “voluntarily” (or else get regulated) so now China wants LinkedIn to carry out “self-evaluational” and let the China’s supreme internet authority, the Cyberspace Administration of China, know about the results.
After years of a very cold war it had with the Trump administration when it comes to all forms of trade – including digital – China now seems to feel itself and be ready to flex its muscles ahead of a meeting in Alaska with representatives of the new White House.
The fact that LinkendIn reportedly has used algorithms and human reviewers to diligently label posts Beijing might think of as offensive, politically and ideologically, may no longer be enough to ensure its longevity in this, no doubt, difficult market.
The whole game may now have changed.