LinkedIn's SlideShare site blocked in China

SlideShare allows users to share documents online

China has started blocking SlideShare, a document sharing service recently acquired by LinkedIn, making the site inaccessible to users in the country.

"It appears that Internet users in China are not currently able to access SlideShare. We're looking into the situation," Ross Mayfield, SlideShare director of business development, said in a statement on Friday.

Accessing the SlideShare site from China currently results in a page error, which generally occurs when users in the country try to visit other blocked sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Users on the Sina Weibo microblogging platform were reporting that SlideShare was inaccessible since Wednesday.

China, known for its Internet censorship, routinely blocks and deletes Internet content deemed politically sensitive or anti-government. But it's unclear why authorities have targeted SlideShare, an English language service that allows users to upload PowerPoint presentations, along with other document types and videos to share with the public. The site reports having 60 million monthly visitors.

Last year, LinkedIn was temporarily blocked in China, as part of a move by government censors to suppress mention of an online protest call that had been made on the site, according to analysts. LinkedIn has previously expressed interest in tapping opportunities in China, but also acknowledged it faces the challenge of dealing with the country's "political filtering."

Because of China's censorship, foreign groups known to publish sensitive information have continually faced barriers in trying to reach China's Internet users. The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai reported on Thursday that's its account on a popular Chinese Twitter-like site in the country was inaccessible. The consulate is working to find out why.

Sina, the operator of the Twitter-like site, could not be reached for comment. But the company has been known to delete postings, block searches, and close accounts relating to sensitive content on its Sina Weibo platform.

Like the consulate, The New York Times had started an account on Sina Weibo, only to see it taken down as well.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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