Yahoo pulls out of China

Yahoo Inc. has pulled out of China on November 2, 2021 because of an increasingly challenging business and legal environment.

Highlights

  • Yahoo has stopped its services in China from November 1, 2021.
  • Yahoo took this decision in line with its commitment for rights of users and a free & open internet.
  • This decision coincides with the implementation of Personal Information Protection law in China.

Censorship in China

  • Chinese authorities maintain a sharp grip on internet censorship. It requires companies operating in China to censor the keywords and content that are politically sensitive or inappropriate.
  • China has also implemented its “Personal Information Protection Law”, which set limits to what information companies can gather. It also sets standards on how information must be stored.
  • Under Chinese laws, companies operating in the country are required to hand over data if authorities make such request.

Background

In 2007, Yahoo was criticized by lawmakers after it handed over data on two Chinese dissidents to Beijing. It led to the imprisonment of Chinese dissidents. Yahoo had previously stopped its operations in China. In the year 2015, it closed down its office in Beijing.

How international social media sites operate in China?

Yahoo withdrawal from China is largely symbolic because China had already blocked Yahoo services & its web portal. China also stopped music and email services of Yahoo on its mainland during 2010s. China does not allow international social media sites and search engines like Facebook & Google to operate there. Users in China access these services by using a virtual private network (VPN).

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