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SciTech Facebook May 'block content' Claim as Speculation Grows over Entry into China

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, May 4, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Tania Branigan in Beijing
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 April 2011


    Facebook could block content in some countries, a Washington lobbyist for the company has said, adding that it has faced uncomfortable positions over "too much, maybe, free speech".

    The comments come amid increasing speculation that the company plans to enter the Chinese market, probably in collaboration with a local partner.

    "Maybe we will block content in some countries, but not others," Adam Conner told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ)."We are occasionally held in uncomfortable positions because now we're allowing too much, maybe, free speech in countries that haven't experienced it before."

    Asked whether Facebook stood by the remarks, a spokeswoman confirmed Conner, 25, worked for the company but said she could not offer further comment.

    The company's position on user content is attracting renewed attention because of its perceived role in the uprisings in the Middle East – especially after Egypt blocked social media sites in an attempt to foil pro-democracy protests. Activist Wael Ghonim, asked what came after Tunisia and Egypt, replied: "Ask Facebook".

    Facebook is blocked in China, but Bloomberg reported this month that it has held talks with potential partners about entering the market. It would have to comply with China's extensive internet censorship system to do so and would face strong competition from domestic rivals such as Kaixin and Renren.

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is thought to have been interested in the Chinese market for a long time, with rumours of an impending launch picking up when he visited China late last year and was pictured with Robin Li, CEO of search site Baidu. Chinese media claimed recently that Facebook has reached a deal to create a standalone China service, citing unnamed employees of the Beijing firm, but a Baidu spokesman declined to comment.

    Baidu dominates search services in China – with about two-thirds of the market – but is keen to expand its into other areas.

    "Right now we're studying and learning about China but have made no decisions about if, or how, we will approach it," Debbie Frost, Facebook's director of international communications, told the WSJ.

    If Facebook established a service in China it would be legally required to hand user data to Chinese authorities.

    Bill Bishop, a digital media entrepreneur in Beijing, said: "Google said, 'We're not going to launch any services that require user information'. They could do that with search and maps and music. But Facebook has a problem that is more complicated by an order of magnitude.

    "It is inevitable that to comply with Chinese laws they or their partner are going to have to turn over data. The day that happens they should expect a call from Congress."

    In 2007 Yahoo apologised to the families of two jailed Chinese journalists for turning over their email records, after a dramatic congressional hearing in which the firm was accused of "morally [being] pygmies". It had already handed control of its mainland operations to China's Alibaba.com, in which it had bought a 40% stake.

    Bishop said: "It is an incredibly mature, incredibly competitive market. People don't lack for social networking services. They will get a huge amount of grief overseas [if they come here] … Is it really worth the risk of significant brand damage and regulatory and political scrutiny overseas to be an also-ran?"
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    The publication date is important here. 20 April 2011

    Mai Harinder Kaur ji has been alerted to a report that yesterday, 3 May 2011, many political dissidents and technology bloggers logged onto facebook only to find themselves locked out.
     
  4. Mai Harinder Kaur

    Mai Harinder Kaur
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    20 April?

    Hitler's birthday? Or am I missing something?
     
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    LOL That was not what I meant. facebook had more than 2 weeks counting backward from from yesterday to implement the shut-out.
     

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