Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Facebook secretly launched a mobile app in China

Facebook secretly launched a mobile app in China

Facebook was banned in China in 2009, followed by its photo-sharing app Instagram in 2014 and its messaging app WhatsApp was partially blocked last month.

Facebook has finally managed to sneak into China.

The app is named Colorful Balloons, and is similar to Facebook's Moments. Instead, Colorful Balloons links to those who have a WeChat account, China's biggest social platform. It was released through a separate company without any hint of Facebook's affiliation.

To hide Facebook's tracks, the app was released by a separate local company, called Youge Internet Technology, registered in eastern Beijing, leaving no traces of the social media platform's link to it. The country boastfully holds 700 million internet users which make the country more lucrative to the global tech corporations. But the Times says Facebook authorized it.

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

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It's no secret how badly Facebook wants to take on the Chinese market.

"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.

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.

Facebook has also experimented with getting back into China by creating a censorship tool that automatically suppresses certain posts in specific geographic areas, The New York Times reported back in November.

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