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Facebook said to launch new social network with Chinese search giant Baidu

china-facebook-us-baiduIn an attempt to tap into the more than 1.5-billion-people-strong Chinese market, Facebook has signed a deal with Baidu Inc., the most-used search engine in China, Business Insider reports. The alleged agreement follows a meeting between Facebook co-founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg and Baidu CEO Robin Li, which took place during Zuckerberg’s trip to the Asian nation last December.

According to unnamed sources cited by Chinese news site, the purported partnership will result in the launch of a new social network — not an extension of, which is blocked by China’s tightly controlled Internet censorship regulations. Earlier reports indicated that China would relax its censorship regulations after news surfaced that China Mobile Ltd. Chariman Wang Jianzhou had discussed cooperating with the Palo Alto, California, social giant. But this latest round of news suggest Facebook has agreed to a fair share of compromise to enter the digitally cloistered Asian country.

As Business Insider notes, the Facebook-Baidu deal would be beneficial to both parties, with Facebook being able to break into the massive emerging Chinese market, and Baidu being able to enter the social networking sphere without having to start off at square one.

Despite Facebook’s overwhelming dominance in the United States, the Facebook-backed Chinese site will face a flurry of stiff competition. As we recently noted, three companies already rule China’s social networking market: Sina Weibo, Tencent and Renren. Qzone, which is owned by China’s largest Internet company, Tencent, has a reported200 million users.

Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009, after the country’s government cracked down on social communications services after riots erupted in the Xinjaing province, which some described as “the next Tiananmen.” Since then, the Chinese government has imposed increasingly strict regulations over its citizens’ use of social networks.

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Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
New social network Unthink says ‘FU’ to Facebook and Google+

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Unthink, which is based in Tampa, Florida, came out swinging, with a manifesto that vows to “emancipate social media,” along with a promotional video that literally says “FU” to Facebook and Google+ for making money by “spying – yes, spying” on users and bombarding users with ads, among other grievances.
According to Unthink chief executive Natasha Dedis, the idea for a new kind of social network came to her in 2007, when her son asked to join Facebook. After reading Facebook's terms and conditions, as well as the terms of MySpace (which reigned king of social media at the time), Dedis said in an interview with SixEstate that she realized that these companies were operating under a business logic that was “totally irrational and exploitative.”
“...I felt that they were basically taking my son hostage,” said Dedis. “He was giving them a perpetual license to do whatever they wanted, they could change the terms at any time. So I thought, 'Oh my god, in the real world, no business could ask its clients to enter into such a legal relationship. So how is this even legal on the Web?' It just baffled me."
Unthink attempts to tackle the exploitation problem in a number of different ways. First, Unthink makes all user data private by default. Users may then allow others to see the information they want public, and keep private anything they want private. Next, Unthink doesn't sell user data to companies. Instead, users can choose to have specific brands “sponsor” their pages. Any users who don't want corporate sponsorship can pay a $2-a-year fee to use the service. In addition, Unthink users may choose how brands communicate with them via a section that's totally separate from their regular information stream.
As we see it, Unthink faces an inconceivably difficult uphill battle against Facebook and Google+. At the same time, however, Unthink's servers are, at the time of this writing, completely overwhelmed by the bombardment of traffic headed to the site today. While some may see that as evidence that the company is unprepared for the big leagues, it at least shows that people are interested in a Facebook alternative – something we saw in droves with the launch of Google+.
We'll definitely be exploring Unthink more in the coming days. In the mean time, check out Unthink's in-your-face promo video, and let us know what you think of, er, Unthink:

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Report: Facebook may wait to file for IPO until late 2012
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Are you ready for even more Facebook news? Reports are stating that the social media giant might delay its IPO until late 2012. People close to the company are saying that the decision to remain private has nothing to do with the shaky stock market. Originally it was thought that Facebook would file for its IPO by April 2012.
The delay is said to be due to CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanting the company to focus on new products, and not on money. Zuckerberg might want to wait until September to file the paper work, which should still allow for the company to be public by the end of the year.
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With all the recent new features and enhancements to Facebook the excuse of wanting employees to focus on work and not money makes sense. Just this week alone Facebook made changes to how users can modify their Friends Lists, and allowed users to Subscribe to users who they are not friends with. There are also of course rumors about a Facebook music service in the works.  Just because Facebook is the largest social network in the world doesn't mean they can sit back and relax.
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This whole Facebook, Google+ thing has gotten somewhat ridiculous. Both are one-upping each other with new features and Facebook has been busy closing holes that are letting new Google+ users important contacts and other information from its site. This, of course, has been making the transition between the two all the more complicated – just as Facebook wants it.
But there are plenty of users happy to coexist between the two, getting to know the ins and outs of Google+ as it develops while simultaneously content with Facebook’s established platform. And now, you can have both at the same time – better yet, in the same window. A new Chrome and Firefox extension called Google+Facebook puts your Facebook stream directly into Google+, and also gives you the ability to update your Facebook status from its' enemy site.
After installing and approving the application, it will pull what it needs from your account and place a Facebook icon to the left of Google +’s home button. Clicking this will pull up what looks like a mini Facebook client and give you the status bar (text only, sorry – no links, photos, or the like at the moment) as well as your News Feed below.
We advise jumping on the Google+Facebook plugin if you’re interested – who knows how long Facebook will complacently let its home page be pulled into enemy territory? Facebook’s privacy policy clearly states you cannot take information about your friends elsewhere, which is why it’s been able to continuously block outside sites from importing its contact info. Seeing as your News Feed is full of friends’ posts, we’re not certain how long Google+Facebook will stick around.

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