It's no secret that the Chinese government heavily controls the internet within its borders. As a result, many of the world's top websites are blocked in China. Internet giants like Facebook and Google have been trying alternative ways to infiltrate the market. The latest is a stealth release of an app called Colorful Balloons.
Colorful Balloons is very similar to Facebook's Moments: an app that lets you share photos with friends and family. Even the name of the new app resembles the logo of the original. According to The New York Times, Facebook approved the release of the app back in May. The app is published by a Chinese company called Youge Internet Technology and bears no apparent affiliation with the social networking company.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has visited the country many times in recent years. During the visits, he evidently had talks with government officials about the company's future in the country. Last year, it was reported that the company had tried to create a censorship tool to reconcile with the government.
When contacted by The Verge, Facebook replied that it's "spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways. Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform."
The way the app was released in China is certainly unprecedented for a company of Facebook's stature. It remains to be seen whether the government will take any actions regarding the app's future.