Amid China's ongoing internet crackdown, Facebook has been able to penetrate the online corridors of the communist nation without its law enforcement authorities learning it. According to a report, Facebook has entered China under the cover of a photo-sharing app.
Facebook has continuously been banned by the country for years through its internet censor infamously called the Great Firewall of China. But the social media giant seems to have gained the upper hand this time following the discreet entry of a photo-sharing app it owns in China.
The New York Times reported the Colourful Balloons app had debuted in the country in May with the assistance of an independent local company, Youge Internet Technology. It added the arrival of the Moments-like app carried no signs of Facebook, largely helping its successful entry in China. Colourful Balloons also used WeChat, China's largest social network, to link users.
In a statement, Facebook has neither denied nor confirmed its ownership of Colourful Balloons, saying "We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways".
The Chinese government took down Facebook from its internet space shortly after the July 2009 Urumqi riots as Xinjiang independence activists were using it as one of their means of communication. Facebook is not the sole internet company under China's censorship; Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp, Yahoo! and Google has all been blocked in the country as well.
As of January 2017, China already has 731 million internet users, so it comes as no surprise why the largest internet companies are wooing the Chinese government or launching attempts to penetrate the country. Meanwhile, Apple and Microsoft have continued their operations in China because they have come to the terms and demands of the government.