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Linkedin may have censored China-critic’s account, globally


 

Update: Three days after being requested to comment on this issue from Safeguard Defenders, a media outlet, and Peter Humphrey himself, the account of Peter Humphrey was quietly back in working order as of late yesterday, but with no comment issued from Linkedin as to why.

 


 

After UK’s TV regulator Ofcom launched a formal investigation of CGTN (China Global Television Network), based on a complaint by British former journalist Peter Humphrey and Safeguard Defenders, U.S. social media company LinkedIn appears to have started censoring Peter Humphrey’s account, globally.

After Peter Humphrey posted a few newspaper articles on the subject on May 8, his social media account, which is still accessible, ceased to show any new posts, comments, or other updates that he made after 16.00 (GMT+1) on May 9. He has made numerous postings, including comments and links to newspaper articles over the past 48 hours and received no error messages when posting. But the posts fail to appear in the Linkedin feed. Older posts and activity remain visible and in other respects, his account is functioning, so it is unlikely to be a technical error. Linkedin earlier in December 2018 blocked his account in China.

The effect is effective on Linkedin globally, and not just for Linkedin China. Safeguard Defenders have reached out to Linkedin for a comment and will post any response here. Peter Humphrey has reached out to Linkedin and has so far received no reply.


 

This is the second time within half a year that Linkedin has blocked Peter Humphrey’s posts. In December 2018 Mr. Humphrey received a notice from Linkedin saying  he would be blocked in China because of the “presence of specific content.”

After Buzzfeed reached out to Linkedin,  Nicole Leverich, a spokesperson for the company they said that his profile had been blocked in error. They refused to say why he had been blocked.

This followed blocking in China of another vocal critic of the Chinese government, Zhou Fengsuo. In a message to Zhou, Linkedin said the company “strongly supports freedom of expression,” but his profile and activities would not be viewable to users in China because of “specific content on your profile.” After media attention, Linkedin claimed again that it had been an error.


 

The above two incidents concerned ‘merely’ blocked access to an account for users of Linkedin China. The current development regarding Mr. Humphrey’s account is global in effect, and no new posts, comments, likes or other functions posted appears visible for anyone.


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