A Chinese Facebook is coming and will make huge censorship concessions

Facebook-BaiduA Facebook lobbyist recently said that perhaps the site was allowing “too much free speech” in countries that were not used to the luxury. The statement sounded something like a hint that the social networking site would be willing to make concessions in certain situations – certain situations like a market of 450 million Internet users who are subject to strict government censorship.

The Facebook-China rumor mill has been churning for years now, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the site will launch a censorship-friendly option in the country. There was some talk earlier this month that Chinese search engine giant Baidu’s new microblogging feature signaled it may forgo a Facebook collaboration, but according to All Things Digital that isn’t the case. The site’s “numerous sources” claim that Facebook is looking to launch in China and will adhere to the government’s censorship.

As we previously reported, Facebook will partner with Baidu and launch a separate site, although all users will have the ability to connect to it – but not without some red tape. “When Facebook users outside China connect with users inside China, sources said they will need to click through a warning that any material visible to Chinese users may also be visible to the Chinese government.” At least you’re being warned. China has been accused of hacking Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents, so if you’re trying to connect to Facebook China, it can be assumed your content is being monitored. The censorship issue has been at the heart of Facebook’s inability to break through China’s firewall, and the solution seems like a weak compromise: There will be two Facebooks, one censored, one not, and those privy to the free speech version will be giving up their privacy in order to connect to the other, although they will be given fair warning. Insiders say that Facebook may implement input and display filters, which simply mean that Chinese Facebook users won’t be able to post or see “objectionable” content.

Apparently Facebook considered other partners, including Sina and Tencent, before it decided on Baidu. However, both of these sites have strong social platforms, whereas Baidu is actively trying to increase its own. And China’s social networks, specifically RenRen (which is nearly identical to Facebook) are making a play for those millions of Internet users. According to insiders, RenRen’s recent US fundraising has lit the competitive fire underneath Facebook, which knows it’s time to move if it wants in on these very profitable market.

Of course this is bound to incite controversy. Facebook has unwittingly becomes a platform for free speech and personal liberties through demonstrations in Egypt and Libya, among other oppressive governments. In the wake of these revolutions, the United States Government has pledged to support Internet freedom. Operating a censored and government monitored Facebook will either be counterintuitive to this cause, or possibly a limited step toward increased freedoms. Either way, you can’t expect Facebook to simply give up. After all, it was CEO Mark Zuckerberg who said “how can you connect the whole world if you leave out 1.6 billion people?”

News

In SEC filing, Facebook admits Libra cryptocurrency may not happen after all

Facebook’s drive to create its own worldwide cryptocurrency might have hit a brick wall. In a new SEC filing, the company said that Libra’s planned 2020 launch might be delayed – or it might not ever happen at all.
News

Sen. Josh Hawley wants to ban infinite scroll and autoplay videos

Sen. Josh Hawley introduced legislation on Tuesday calling for tech giants to curb deceptive techniques that fuel social media addiction.The bill would ban features that he says can be addictive to users like infinite scroll and autoplay.
Wearables

Facebook’s ‘brain-computer interface’ could let you type with your mind

Facebook talked a couple of years ago about creating technology that lets you type with your mind. Aimed primarily at patients with speech loss due to paralysis, the company recently offered an update on its ambitious project.
News

Facebook just deleted fake accounts from the Middle East

Facebook removed fake accounts from UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia because of coordinated inauthentic behavior. The social network announced in a blog post the removal of pages, groups, and accounts that originated in these countries.
News

The FTC wants to know exactly why Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp

The Federal Trade Commission's antitrust investigation into Facebook will focus in on its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. The FTC wants to know if Facebook tried to acquire its social media rivals before they would become a threat
News

Facebook is going to add its name to Instagram and WhatsApp

Facebook plans to add its name to both Instagram and WhatsApp as politicians call for the social media giant to be broken apart and the FTC investigates Facebook’s acquisition of both companies.
News

WhatsApp has 400 million users in India, but no fix for its fake news problem

WhatsApp is struggling to stem the tide of fake news in India, its biggest market. In the last few years, its platform has been inundated with an around-the-clock avalanche of misinformation -- misleading mobs into lynching innocents and…
Web

Were they really that bad? Here are the 10 most disliked videos on YouTube

Ever wondered which videos are the most disliked videos on YouTube? Well, we have the top ten list you’re looking for. Here are the latest videos with the most dislikes currently on YouTube.
Mobile

Telegram’s new Slow Mode aims to bring order to noisy group chats

Messaging app Telegram has just released some new features that are bound to please. Slow Mode aims to bring some order to group chats, while Silent Messages ensures you won’t wake your buddy if you get in touch late in the day.
Social Media

The EU could hit Facebook with billions in fines over privacy violations

The European Union is reportedly nearing the end of its investigations into some of the cases it has opened against Facebook pertaining to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. The EU currently has 11 open cases against the…
Social Media

Quit hitting refresh: Twitter is testing a subscribe to tweet replies feature

Soon you might be able to get a push notification when a tweet has been replied to as well. Twitter is currently testing a new feature that will allow users to turn on notifications for a particular thread.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier than ever, but choosing the right tool to use isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our three favorite tools.
News

Facebook admits it was listening to your private conversations, too

Facebook outsourced contractors to listen in on your audio messenger chats and transcribe them. Contractors were not told why they were listening in or why they were transcribing them. Facebook said it is no longer transcribing audio. 
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.