Facebook Quietly Released A Photo-Sharing App In China

Facebook Colorful Balloons Facebook app China Facebook

Facebook allows Moments-like app to be launched in China

Facebook anonymously launched a new photo-sharing app in China in a new effort to make inroads in the world's most populous country.

Google, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook are among Silicon Valley stars not allowed to operate on China's tightly controlled internet.

Colorful Balloons looks and operates nearly exactly like the Moments app, except without any mention of Facebook, so much so that it could easily be considered a local clone.

The report claims Facebook might be trying a new way to get into China: by giving the greenlight for a local company to release a new app that doesn't share Facebook's name.

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Facebook has been formally forbidden in China since 2009, despite many attempts over the years by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to woo government officials.

It was unclear if China's various internet regulators were aware of the app's existence, the Times said. She appeared in a photo of a recent meeting between Facebook and the Shanghai government, sitting next to Wang-Li Moser, a Facebook executive whose responsibilities include building up the company's relationship with the Chinese government. The under-the-table approach could cause Facebook new difficulties with a Chinese government that has maintained strict oversight and control over foreign tech companies. The release of the app could give Facebook a better understanding of the social media habits of China's 700 million internet users.

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. The Chinese app even uses the messaging platform WeChat for connecting users in place of Facebook's network. It was released through a separate company without any hint of Facebook's affiliation.

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