China is a much different place than the United States of America. For starters, there are thousands of sites that we use everyday here in the States and don’t even think twice about. China, on the other hand, blocks most of those same sites. One site not blocked, however, is the famous job searching site known as LinkedIn.
The Significance of LinkedIn in China
LinkedIn is an American business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps. Since it’s American-made, it’s somewhat surprising to know that China allows the use of it. China blocks almost every other American-made social media site. LinkedIn is one of the few companies that agrees to censoring some material, which makes it a little more understandable. Nevertheless, it’s available to Chinese people as well as Americans, and we both use it to find our next career path.
China has found a better use for it, it would seem.
According to The New York Times, China reportedly uses LinkedIn to search for and recruit spies from overseas. Their typical targets are people just outside of China who have recently left government jobs. They typically disguise themselves as corporate headhunters. They even offer to fly the potential recruits to China on their dime.
A spokeswoman for LinkedIn named Nicole Leverich said, “We enforce our policies, which are very clear: The creation of a fake account or fraudulent activity with an intent to mislead or lie to our members is a violation of our terms of service.”
Not the First Time
It turns out that this isn’t the first time this has been the case, and China isn’t the only country to recruit people in this way. Last year, popular news organization Reuters reported that the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials warned about China’s “super aggressive” activities while using LinkedIn. So as it appears, this has been going on for quite some time.
As with everything on the Internet, it’s important to be cautious of fake profiles and people. Social media is a place where people can be anyone they want to be. This is the main reason behind protecting yourself and your brand, and always know with whom do business and share information.