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WeChat censorship offers a blueprint for Facebook but here's why it should not enter China

Reports have suggested Facebook is working on a censorship tool, to make its service more appealing to Chinese regulators

C Custer 

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg | Photo: Sanjay K Sharma

founder has a special interest in China. Recently, reports have suggested is working on a censorship tool, presumably to make its service more appealing to Chinese regulators.

To that end, 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: should copy WeChat. Except…

shouldn’t enter China

entering is a bad idea for the following reasons:

PR backlash. If it enters 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.

Outdated product. 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 as 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 since before you’d even heard of the term “social media” – would just sit back and let grab up its market share anyway. 

WeChat censorship offers a blueprint for Facebook, but it still shouldn't enter China

 
But if, by some strange stroke of luck, it does find itself launching in China, I think that’s a day may live to regret.
 

This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here

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WeChat censorship offers a blueprint for Facebook but here's why it should not enter China

Reports have suggested Facebook is working on a censorship tool, to make its service more appealing to Chinese regulators

Reports have suggested Facebook is working on a censorship tool, to make its service more appealing to Chinese regulators
founder has a special interest in China. Recently, reports have suggested is working on a censorship tool, presumably to make its service more appealing to Chinese regulators.

To that end, 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: should copy WeChat. Except…

shouldn’t enter China

entering is a bad idea for the following reasons:

PR backlash. If it enters 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.

Outdated product. 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 as 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 since before you’d even heard of the term “social media” – would just sit back and let grab up its market share anyway. 

WeChat censorship offers a blueprint for Facebook, but it still shouldn't enter China

 
But if, by some strange stroke of luck, it does find itself launching in China, I think that’s a day may live to regret.
 

This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here

image
Business Standard
177 22

WeChat censorship offers a blueprint for Facebook but here's why it should not enter China

Reports have suggested Facebook is working on a censorship tool, to make its service more appealing to Chinese regulators

founder has a special interest in China. Recently, reports have suggested is working on a censorship tool, presumably to make its service more appealing to Chinese regulators.

To that end, 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: should copy WeChat. Except…

shouldn’t enter China

entering is a bad idea for the following reasons:

PR backlash. If it enters 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.

Outdated product. 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 as 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 since before you’d even heard of the term “social media” – would just sit back and let grab up its market share anyway. 

WeChat censorship offers a blueprint for Facebook, but it still shouldn't enter China

 
But if, by some strange stroke of luck, it does find itself launching in China, I think that’s a day may live to regret.
 

This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here

image
Business Standard
177 22

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