Profile image
By The Sleuth ​Journal
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Facebook is Reportedly Building a Censorship Tool so it Can Re-enter China

Friday, November 25, 2016 16:11
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Facebook is Reportedly Building a Censorship Tool so it Can Re-enter China | Facebook-is-Reportedly-Building-a-Censorship-Tool-so-it-Can-Re-enter-China | Free Speech Government Control Internet Censorship Science & Technology World News

By: Casey Newton, The Verge |

Facebook is developing a software tool that suppresses users’ posts from appearing in the News Feed in designated geographic areas, a possible first step toward making the social network available in China, the New York Times reported. The tool has reportedly caused a controversy within Facebook, with “several employees” quitting in protest after working on it, according to the Times.

Facebook has been banned from China since 2009. Like many US technology companies, Facebook has long sought a way back in, seeing the country’s 1.3 billion residents as a source of enormous potential growth. Google built a version of its search engine that complied with China’s censorship guidelines but retreated from the country in 2010 after a series of seemingly state-sponsored cyberattacks. More recently, Uber exited the Chinese market with a quick sale of its business there to local rival Didi Chuxing.

As the Times notes, Facebook has taken down posts in other countries around the world, including Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey. But the tool now in development would prevent the posts from ever surfacing in the News Feed at all, according to the report. Facebook plans to outsource censorship duties to a third-party company, the report said.

Allowing censors to manipulate public opinion directly

The news comes in the midst of a national discussion about Facebook’s growing power as a distributor of news, its role in containing the spread of lies and hoaxes, and the possibility that its refusal to adopt editorial standards may have influenced the US presidential election. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company is building new tools to address fake news. “I want what we do to have a good impact on the world,” Zuckerberg said earlier this month. “I want people to have a diversity of information.”

But the existence of a “censorship tool” would muddy those waters by allowing censors to manipulate public opinion directly by essentially preventing users from posting articles that offended the state. Once it were introduced, Facebook would likely face pressure from other autocratic regimes to enable its use in their own countries. It is not impossible that the United States would be one of those countries — a fact that led some sources to come forward to the Times, reporter Mike Isaac said on Twitter.

The Times cautioned that the tool is one of several approaches Facebook has considered and that it might never be introduced. “We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country,” a spokeswoman told The Verge. “However, we have not made any decision on our approach to China. Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform.”

The post Facebook is Reportedly Building a Censorship Tool so it Can Re-enter China appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


We encourage you to Share our Reports, Analyses, Breaking News and Videos. Simply Click your Favorite Social Media Button and Share.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global

Top Alternative



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.