We all know that anyone who wants to do business in China, especially internet related business, is subject to various controls and restrictions. In other words, they have to censor content. Google bit the bullet and offered its services in China with censorship filters in place. They came in for some heavy criticism for putting profits ahead of human rights and, in 2010, left the Chinese market. Whether Google ever had a chance of success in China is doubtful when the market was already (and continues to be) dominated by firms such as Baidu. Facebook and Twitter also tried – and failed, or, were just plain kicked out.
Now it is LinkedIn’s turn to try and get a foothold in China. Of course this means that any postings about numerous topics and issues, most notably Tiananmen and June 4th, are banned. But as my friend and colleague Andrew Work found out the other day, censorship has its pitfalls, after his June 4th post, made from Hong Kong, was censored. You can read the whole story here. I understand that LinkedIn has since corrected this, but it just goes to show what a slippery slope censorship is, having to constantly consider and assess who may see what and where.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, Google’s China struggles continue.