Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Facebook figured out how to "sneak" in China

Facebook figured out how to

In May, Facebook quietly launched a photo-sharing app called Colorful Balloons in China, where the social networking site is banned, according to a report in The New York Times. It's called Colorful Balloons, and it looks and functions like Facebook's Moments app.

Facebook Inc's interest in China has led it to discretely create and release a photo-sharing application there without the social network's brand being attached.

Found a spelling error? As we said, the local company doesn't show any affiliation with Facebook.

Facebook has always been keen to find a way into China, where the social network has been banned since 2009.

The release of such an app, that is, one from a company with ties to Facebook, has never happened before, save for WhatsApp, which China recently put an end to. China has locked out big tech giants, including Google, from its 700 million internet users.

"We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways", a spokesperson for Facebook told Reuters. Last year, the Times reported the company had developed a censorship tool to get back into the country by suppressing posts from appearing in people's news feeds in certain geographic areas.

China, the world's largest market by internet users, is an attractive but challenging region for internet companies.

Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg has made a big point of meeting with Chinese politicians, studying Communist Party propaganda, Mandarin and even speaking it in public.

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