Both Apple and Google cooperate with Russia in removing LinkedIn app

9 Jan 2017

Winter in Moscow. Image: Kichigin/Shutterstock

In another example of state cooperation on censorship, both Apple and Google have agreed to remove the LinkedIn app from iOS and Android stores, following the social network’s ban in Russia.

Last November, Russian LinkedIn users suddenly found themselves unable to access the business social network in an apparent censorship attempt by Vladimir Putin’s government.

In a statement following the decision, the country demanded that all of its citizens’ data held by the website must be stored within its own borders.

Despite an apparent willingness from LinkedIn to cooperate in some aspects (but not all), Russia closed access to the site, which has so far been upheld.

Now, according to The New York Times, Apple and Google have agreed to erase its presence entirely from Russia by removing the LinkedIn app from both of its stores.

While access to LinkedIn content has been blocked since the ban was introduced, the Russian government is attempting to eliminate any presence it has in the country, including its smartphone app.

Apple has since confirmed that the company was first asked to remove the app over a month ago. Google has refused to confirm that it removed the app, but stated that it always complies with local laws.

Increasing nation power

Meanwhile, LinkedIn has expressed dismay at the decision, with a spokesperson saying that it “denies access to our members in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses”.

The news follows less than a week after it was confirmed that the iOS app for The New York Times in China was removed by Apple’s App Store, following demands made by the Chinese government.

The country has had a fraught relationship with the news organisation since its decision to publish a string of articles on the accumulated wealth of former prime minister, Wen Jiabao.

Attempts to block particular content online has been an increasing tactic by governments across the globe in recent years – including Turkey – but these latest developments are the first signs that major tech companies are now actively cooperating to remove its own content by governmental request.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic