WASHINGTON, DC—The Global Network Initiative is pleased to announce that LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with approximately 277 million members worldwide, is the latest company to join GNI. GNI’s Board of Directors approved LinkedIn’s application to convert from observer status to full membership on March 6.

“We welcome LinkedIn to GNI and look forward to working with them on freedom of expression and privacy rights,” said GNI Executive Director Susan Morgan. “As LinkedIn expands their presence internationally GNI’s principles and guidelines will help inform their approach, and collaboration with our growing network of companies, civil society organizations, investors and academics will help to protect the rights of their users.”

“Since joining GNI as observers in 2013 we’ve benefited tremendously from engagement with its participants. We look forward to continuing to work together with GNI as we continue developing business practices and advocating for public policies that promote the free expression and privacy of our members and everyone who uses the Internet,” said Pablo Chavez, Vice President, Global Public Policy and Government Affairs at LinkedIn.

GNI brings together technology companies with human rights organizations, investors, and academics to protect and advance human rights online. GNI’s principles and guidelines provide companies with a framework for responding to government requests in a manner that protects and advances freedom of expression and privacy. Companies that join GNI agree to independent assessments of their record in implementing these principles and guidelines.

“As the World Wide Web turns 25 years old this month, it is vital that companies whose success depends on a free and open web commit to free expression and privacy in their own business operations. By signing up for GNI’s multi-stakeholder dialogue and independent assessment process, LinkedIn has demonstrated leadership not just in words but also in deeds, ” said Rebecca MacKinnon, Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.

“LinkedIn’s decision to join GNI delivers a message to its users and investors as well as to governments that it is possible to address surveillance and censorship on the Internet transparently and accountably, even in some of the most challenging markets in the world,” said Bennett Freeman, GNI Board Secretary and Senior Vice President of Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments. “As a still relatively new and fast-growing public company, LinkedIn can both benefit from and contribute to GNI’s learning and policy platforms.”