founder Mark Zuckerberg
has a special interest in China. Recently, reports have suggested Facebook
is working on a censorship tool, presumably to make its service more appealing to Chinese regulators.
To that end, Facebook
might do well to take some cues from WeChat, the social media platform that does dominate the Chinese market. It’s pretty complicated (as you might expect) but basically:
The system differentiates between China-based and international users.
The censorship is quiet: users no longer get notifications when their message has been deleted because it included a censored keyword.
Censorship is dynamic, with keywords being added to and subtracted from the block list in response to current events.
Dynamic keyword blocking would likely be especially important, as Chinese authorities will want to prevent the spread of some current events topics before they’ve had time to go viral.
In other words: Facebook
should copy WeChat. Except…
. If it enters China
and starts actively censoring content and turning user data over to the government (as it would be legally required to do) that might make the Chinese government happy, but it’ll make almost everyone else angry.
. Facebook’s web-first platform looks more like Renren and Kaixin001 than WeChat, and that should be a concern, because Renren is about as passé in China
is in the US.
Absurdly strong competition
. Speaking of something way better, it’s unlikely that Tencent – which has dominated the social media scene in China
since before you’d even heard of the term “social media” – would just sit back and let Facebook
grab up its market share anyway.
But if, by some strange stroke of luck, it does find itself launching in China, I think that’s a day Mark Zuckerberg
may live to regret.
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here