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Bravo LinkedIn for standing up to the Chinese!! In times when #socialmedia firms are facing extreme pressures from governments and sadly, non-state entities as well to “conform” and adhere to their warped sense of what is right and wrong, it takes guts to cease operating in #nations where #freedomofspeech is not cherished.
Of course, though LinkedIn is downplaying its decision to quit #china by citing “challenging environment” as the reason for closing its operations there, “between the lines” implications are clear that the #censorship and the “suffocating” aspects of operating in countries which do not tolerate #diverse #viewpoints are key drivers of this decision.
Having said that, #china is a #humungous #market for any firm, especially for #socialmedia companies and hence, the #commercial aspects of this decision mean that LinkedIn would definitely take a hit. More so, when “copycat” #professional #networking websites have proliferated there — with the express blessings of the #powersthatbe, all to eager to occupy the space “vacated” by LinkedIn.
In this context, it is time for Facebook and Twitter too to define where they stand vi-a-vis the “tussle” between restriction and freedom and take an explicit and clear stance. For too long, social media firms (including LinkedIn) have been all too happy to indulge the authorities worldwide and hence, I hope this decision would set a precedent for others.
Indeed, the next #battleground is #India, which too is slowly marching towards #totalitarianism and #autocracy as Twitter would attest, social media firms are in the “cross-hairs” of the #government, that has passed several laws in recent months, with the express intent to “control” the narrative.
While it is sad that Facebook has been on the “right side” of the ruling dispensation and “reaping the benefits” of such association, I predict that it would not be long before the #fractious #forces coerce social media platforms to choose a side.
More power to #freespeech !!
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