Facebook sneaks an app called Colorful Balloons into China

China has banned Facebook and its related apps for years. However, this apparently has not stopped the company from trying to get their products into the country.

According to the New York Times, Facebook managed to sneak an app past the Great Firewall of China, called Colorful Balloons. Nobody managed to catch them doing it, though.

According to the report, Facebook approved the apps release in May, and published it in China through a local company called Youge Internet Technology. Well, this looks like it as nothing to do with Facebook.

But then, Colorful Balloons looks awfully similar to Facebook’s Moments app. However, this could mean that the app is simply a Moments clone app, not a Facebook app. After all, Colorful Balloons connects users through WeChat, not Facebook. That is the main difference between both apps.

The Colorful Balloons app (left) and Moments (right)
The Colorful Balloons app (left) and Moments (right)

Facebook has made no effort to deny this report. The company told the New York Times “we have said that we are interested in China, and are spreading time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways.”

That does look like a disguised admission of the company’s involvement in the app. It is not clear how involved Facebook is with Colorful Balloons, but it does seem like the company played a substantial role.

A lot of American companies have had a difficult time breaking into China. Note that other popular services like YouTube, twitter and Google are banned in the country too. It appears that Colorful Balloons is not trying to go viral. Instead, it is simply helping Facebook better understand the market.

Though Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made multiple visits to China in an effort to improve relations, it is unlikely that the social network will be allowed through the Great Firewall any time soon. But if Colorful Balloons is any indication, the company will just keep trying.

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