Russia made Google remove the LinkedIn Android app from the local Google Play Store, The New York Time reports. The Mountain View-based Internet giant complied with the takedown request within days of receiving it, and as of this weekend, the LinkedIn Android app is no longer available for download from the Google Play Store. Google's representatives have yet to comment on this latest turn of events.
The takedown notice was issued shortly after the Russian government already started blocking the LinkedIn website in mid-November. Moscow's problems with the Microsoft-owned social network started after the Russian government enacted new privacy laws requiring all companies that collect data on Russian nationals to host that data within the country. While the law faced criticism from both political opponents and Internet companies alike, most large tech giants operating in Russia complied with the new regulations. The list of complying firms includes Google and Apple, both of whom have now agreed to remove the LinkedIn app from the Russian versions of their respective mobile app stores.
Google's decision to comply with the LinkedIn takedown notice is interpreted as both a show of goodwill towards Moscow and a demonstration of the company's international policy of cooperating with foreign governments and adhering to local data protection laws. The removal of the LinkedIn Android app is also a purely symbolic move seeing how the app relies on the same services that were already blocked by Moscow in mid-November, meaning that it hasn't been functioning in Russia for weeks. This latest turn of events strongly contrasts Google's old strategy of sticking to its principles which resulted in the company withdrawing from China in 2010 following a series of political clashes with Beijing after the Chinese government started sponsoring surveillance of human rights activists and related groups. Six years later, the Alphabet-owned firm is in the process of slowly returning to China and is also looking to avoid any further confrontations with foreign governments, as evidenced by the company's willingness to comply with the Russian takedown request for the LinkedIn app. It remains to be seen whether Moscow will continue to sanction online services breaking its new set of data protection laws seeing how LinkedIn is only one of the first parties to suffer under the new regulatory landscape.