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12 August 2017, 11:11 | Terri Saunders
The Colorful Balloons app and Moments
Facebook is blocked in China, and so are many other USA apps. Paul Mozur of TheNYT was able to detect the clandestine, global business maneuver by comparing Facebook's Moments app to the one being tested in China. "Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside of China by using our ad platform."Chinese authorities have recently ramped up censorship of social media and messaging platforms, partially blocking Facebook-owned WhatsApp last month".
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It is unclear whether China's various internet regulators were aware of the app's existence. The Times says it illustrates the "desperation" of tech firms as they attempt - exhaustively - to break into China's online market. Sources told the New York Times that Facebook played a part in Colorful Balloons' creation, and even gave permission for the app to be released back in May through a separate company called Youge Internet Technology. The under-the-table approach could cause Facebook new difficulties with Chinese government that has maintained strict oversight and control over foreign tech companies.
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That indicates she likely is associated with the social media giant.
The app has been created to collate photos from the photo albums of smartphones and share them.
"We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways", Facebook said in a statement.
It appears this was far more than a knockoff app, however. The government directed tech companies in July to block their users from accessing secure internet systems known as virtual private networks (VPNs). For example, people who post photos from Colorful Balloons on WeChat will see a link that lets other users download Facebook's Chinese app.
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