LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) expanded into China this year, adopting policies in line with the country’s censorship rules. Now the world’s largest professional social-networking company is saying it may have gone too far.
When a LinkedIn user in China shares a post deemed to be in conflict with the government’s rules, the company blocks the content not only in China but around the world. While LinkedIn’s goal is to protect members against how their content might be shared and noticed by the government, the practice may end up stifling Chinese users seeking to spread messages outside their country.
“We do want to get this right, and we are strongly considering changing our policy so that content from our Chinese members that is not allowed in China will still be viewed globally,” Hani Durzy, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn, said yesterday.
LinkedIn’s dilemma underscores the difficulty of doing business in a country with stringent censorship rules where few other U.S. technology companies have succeeded. Twitter Inc. (TWTR) and Facebook Inc. (FB) social-networking services are blocked in China, though Facebook is slowly expanding its advertising business there after signing a lease in central Beijing, people familiar with the matter have said.