Facebook Quietly Released A Photo-Sharing App In China

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The photo-sharing app, called Colorful Balloons, was released in May to help Facebook enter a market that it has been blocked from since 2009, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Facebook has also experimented with getting back into China by creating a censorship tool that automatically suppresses certain posts in specific geographic areas, The New York Times reported back in November. However, tech companies are incessantly striving to get into China.

The app is named Colorful Balloons, and is similar to Facebook's Moments. Even Colorful Balloons relies heavily on Chinese social platform WeChat to function.

The app, which is created to collate photos from a smartphone's photo albums and then share them, was released by a local company called Youge Internet Technology, which is registered to an address in eastern Beijing, without any hint of affiliation with Facebook. Facebook recently saw it app WhatsApp shutdown in China this summer.

The easy access to Facebook using its app "Colorful Balloons" is made possible by none other than one of China's separate local companies. The successful launching of the "Colorful Balloons" on the other hand subtly allowed Facebook to study the pattern of the country's 700 million internet users' social media usage.

This isn't the only time Facebook has tried to tap into the Chinese market.

It was unclear if China's various internet regulators were aware of the app's existence, the Times said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spent years courting the potentially lucrative Chinese market: He's given a talk in Mandarin and gone jogging in Tiananmen Square.

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