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Facebook quietly develops Censorship Tool to re-enter World’s Second Largest Economy China after 7-Year Ban

Facebook developed the software, which suppresses posts from appearing in people's news feeds in specific geographies

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FILE - Zuckerberg Pushes Internet Connectivity In Address to World Leaders at APEC. VOA
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Nov 27, 2016: Facebook Inc has quietly developed a censorship tool that could persuade China to allow the world’s biggest social media network to re-enter the world’s second largest economy after a seven-year ban, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Facebook developed the software, which suppresses posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographies, with the support of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, the newspaper said, citing unnamed current and former employees.

Zuckerberg in March met China’s propaganda chief Liu Yunshan who said he hoped Facebook could strengthen exchanges and improve mutual understanding with China’s internet companies, according to state news agency Xinhua.

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“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country,” Facebook spokeswoman Arielle Aryah said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

“However, we have not made any decision on our approach to China. Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform.”

“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country,” Facebook spokeswoman Arielle Aryah said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

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“However, we have not made any decision on our approach to China. Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform.”

The Cybersecurity Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator, did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment. China’s foreign ministry declined to comment.

Foreign companies in China, especially in media, face political pressure from a range of regulations. The country’s military newspaper calls the internet the most important front in an ideological battle against “Western anti-China forces”.

China, which has the world’s largest population of internet users, banned the website following the Urumqi riots in July 2009 in an effort to stem the flow of information about ethnic unrest which left 140 people dead.

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Though Facebook has developed the new tool, it does not intend to suppress the posts itself, NYT said.

Facebook would instead offer the software to enable a third party to monitor popular stories and topics that gain visibility as users share them across the network, according to the Times. The third party partner would have full control to decide whether those posts should show up in users’ feeds.

There is no indication Facebook has offered the software to the authorities in China, the Times said. It is one of many ideas Facebook has discussed with respect to entering China and it may never see the light of day, it added.

Facebook, which has struggled in recent months to combat allegations that it unfairly removes certain content on its service, aims to continue to grow in developing nations where it currently has smaller penetration rates. (VOA)

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Birthday Fundraisers on Facebook Raise More than $300 mn in the First Year

Since November 2017, Facebook waived fees, so 100 per cent of all donations made to nonprofits on Facebook go directly to the nonprofits they are supporting

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Facebook birthday fundraisers raise $300 mn in 1st year. Pixabay

Facebook birthday fundraisers, a feature that allows users to raise funds for the causes they care about and donate it to nonprofit organisations, raked in more than $300 million in the first year, the company has said.

To make it easier for users to pick one non-profit from a list of over 750,000 nonprofits on Facebook, the social netoworking giant also announced new tools for people using the feature.

“…we will soon provide more information: when you click on a nonprofit in the list, you can learn more about the organisation, their mission, location and how many people like their Page,” Asha Sharma, Facebook’s Head of Product, Social Good, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We also plan to share more relevant information, like popular search terms in the nonprofit selection tool,” Sharma said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Earlier, Facebook added new tools to nonprofit fundraisers, like the ability to match donations and add organisers to fundraiser.

Pages – including those run by brands, public figures, and nonprofits themselves – can now create and donate to fundraisers.

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And it added a tool so people can make recurring monthly donations to the organisations and causes that are important to them.

Since November 2017, Facebook waived fees, so 100 per cent of all donations made to nonprofits on Facebook go directly to the nonprofits they are supporting. (IANS)