Facebook, the biggest social network in the world, wants to become even bigger by getting access to China’s 1.4 billion potential users. The social network has reportedly created specialized censorship tools, to be used in compliance with the Chinese government, in exchange for access to the country’s people.
Facebook has been banned in China ever since 2009, because the communist leadership is afraid the social network may be used to spread unlawful content and ideas. Though seemingly staying away from the country up until now, Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have repeatedly expressed interest in going back and tapping that huge market.
According to a report from the New York Times, that move seems to be closer than expected. The company has reportedly built a system that allows authorities, or a government-hired company, to police the content that’s being posted and spread by Facebook users. The tool could be one of the many concessions that Facebook is making for the Chinese government, in an effort to expand further.
Interestingly, some of the engineers working on Facebook’s censorship algorithms, left the company after concern over the tool. The report’s author also mentioned that fear over the US election results was what prompted the tool to be leaked in the first place.
Following the US presidential election, Facebook has found itself in hot water for not doing nearly enough to stop the spread of fake news stories and live up to its role as a giant media company – which its leadership still denies having. With such a move, whereby the network may be seen as promoting censorship, Facebook is bound to come under further criticism.