Collingwood Announces Suspension of New Memberships in China

LinkedIn, the U.S. professional social network owned by Microsoft, announced on March 9 that it is suspending the admission of new members in China.

We are a global platform and are obligated to comply with the laws that apply to us, including the Chinese government’s regulations for the Chinese version of LinkedIn,” the group said in a statement dated Tuesday (March 9). But the statement released by the group did not give further details on the specific laws that led it to suspend the admission of new users in China.

AFP said the Linking website is one of the few international platforms that people can access in China. There, all topics deemed politically sensitive are censored in the name of “national stability. Tech giants are forced to block all content online that authorities don’t want.

Those tech giants that refuse to bow to CCP censorship, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, have long been blocked in China by the elaborate “Great Firewall” system.

Collage has been available in Chinese since 2014. At the Time, Linking decided to accept China’s strict censorship in exchange for business expansion. Microsoft, through its joint venture in China, bent to the rules of the Chinese Communist Party authorities in order for Link to enter China. Collage now has 50 million users.

Collage has been criticized for removing accounts of Chinese dissidents and politically sensitive content from its pages. In response to the removal of accounts of Chinese dissidents, Collingwood said it made a mistake.

Last week, Microsoft’s email system (Exchange) was hacked. The attacks were found to be the work of a Chinese hacking group backed by Beijing that rented servers inside the United States. At least 30,000 U.S. organizations were affected, including U.S. businesses, cities and local governments.

However, a spokeswoman for Collage assured Bloomberg that the suspension of Collage’s admission of new members in China had nothing to do with the attack on the email system.

AFP said Microsoft’s journey in China has not always been smooth: its Bing search engine, which had been temporarily suspended in 2019, and its Windows software, which faced an antitrust investigation in 2014.