Facebook reportedly used a stealthy tactic to enter China, a country that blocks the tech firm’s apps.
The company approved the release of Colorful Balloons, a photo-sharing app that made its debut in China, The New York Times reported, citing a person with knowledge of the company’s plans.
The app looks similar to Facebook’s Moments app and it isn’t clear if Chinese regulators know it exists.
Colorful Balloons was released by the company Youge Internet Technology. The executive director of that company Zhang Jingmei was also photographed in a meeting between Facebook and the Chinese government.
“Colorful Balloons gives the Silicon Valley company a way to see how Chinese users digitally share information with their friends or interact with their favorite social media platforms,” New York Times reporter Paul Mozur wrote.
With a mission to “bring the world closer together,” Facebook has been trying to grow users every year. It currently has more than 2 billion monthly users.
From meeting politicians to learning Mandarin, Mark Zuckerberg has shown interest in reentering the Chinese market.
But he’s also acknowledged publicly that the tech giant has to do so in a way that they’re comfortable with over the long term.
Last year, Facebook quietly created software to censor posts from appearing in people’s News Feeds.
At the time, a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement to SiliconBeat that the company has been interested in China and is “spending time understanding and learning more about the country.”
Photo Credit: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2015. (LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)