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28.11.2016

Facebook wants to enter China, is willing to offer “censorship” tool


Back in 2009, Facebook, along with Twitter, were banned in China. Probably since then, people at the biggest social network have scoured their heads and built plans on how exactly the company could re-enter the market with its 1.4 billion users. A controversial solution, the development of a “censorship tool”, was uncovered by the New York Times.


So whether it is suppression or a straight-up censorship tool, here are what Facebook’s plans look according to the NYT: They don’t block content on their own, instead develop a software to let others do it for them. That could mean that either a private third-party (a private company or the government) itself could be giving access to users’ feeds. That would allow those third parties to decide what may or may not appear.

Obviously, there are ethical concerns about such a strategy. Leaving a backdoor that allows someone to “censor” your product can be dangerous. On the other hand, people have been calling for more regulations on Facebook. After controversies such as the social network being accused of spreading “fake news”, this tool might provide just the regulation the site needs.

And even more obviously, Facebook’s strategy is not, in the first place, about ethics. It’s about spreading its influence to China. User numbers are still growing for the social network, but they’re doing so at an ever-decreasing pace. It’s just that most people already have Facebook. At least in the regions where it’s available. And that’s where China’s 1.4 billion people become a very lucrative market.


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Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/technology/facebook-censorship-tool-china.html
Pic: © Simon
 
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