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Last Updated : Aug 30, 2019 12:56 PM IST | Source:

China has been recruiting spies via LinkedIn: Report

It is not as if only Chinese espionage systems are active on the Microsoft-owned platform with close to 650 million users

National flag of China (Wikimedia)
National flag of China (Wikimedia)

Fresh allegations have surfaced blaming China of leveraging American social media platform used to forge professional ties to hire spies.

According to a New York Times report, Chinese spies are using LinkedIn to recruit fellow spies, since it is the only major American social media platform that’s not banned in the country.

The report states that the fact that millions of job aspirants gather at this platform makes it the perfect place for espionage recruiters to go hunting. The usual targets of such spy agencies are either academics or people residing outside China who have recently quit their government jobs.


NYT interviewed several former diplomats and intelligence experts to corroborate their allegations. In the course of it, it was deduced that most of these Chinese spies were hiring people by putting up a façade of being corporates. Pretending to be corporate hiring agencies, they get in touch with potential recruits. They then offer them a paid trip to China for further consultation and negotiations, after which they start building a rapport with the potential future spies.

LinkedIn spokesperson Nicole Leverich said they actively hunt down and remove fake accounts. “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,” she added.

However, this was not the first time that a media organisation pointed fingers at China for using LinkedIn to recruit spies. Last year, news agency Reuters had cited intelligence and law enforcement officials from the United States to warn that China is indulging in “super aggressive” activities on the professional platform.

Notably, it is not as if only Chinese espionage systems are active on the Microsoft-owned platform with close to 650 million users. Spy networks from other countries also leverage LinkedIn for the same purpose, but the number of Chinese spies in disguise on the platform are far greater compared to any other.
First Published on Aug 30, 2019 12:56 pm