Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Facebook figured out how to "sneak" in China

Facebook figured out how to

A source close to the matter confirmed a New York Times report on Friday that said Facebook took the unusual step of creating an app called Colorful Balloons and releasing it through a local company with no hint that the social network was involved.

Colorful Balloons appears to mimic the look and feel of Facebook's Moments app, which allows users to share photos with friends and family members.

Facebook has been banned from China for years, but a new app that has shown up in the country might be its way into the market.

The app, which is created to collate photos from a smartphone's photo albums and then share them, was released by a local company called Youge Internet Technology, which is registered to an address in eastern Beijing, without any hint of affiliation with Facebook. China has locked out big tech giants, including Google, from its 700 million internet users.

It's unclear whether Chinese regulators were aware of the app, and it could muddy up the waters even further between tech companies and the country.

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

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spent years courting the potentially lucrative Chinese market: He's given a talk in Mandarin and gone jogging in Tiananmen Square.

Facebook declined to comment on Zhang's relationship to the company, and Zhang did not respond to phone calls requesting comment.

Facebook might have just entered China's app store - but you'd never know it at first glance.

Facebook approved the release in May.

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