Facebook, like oh so many other websites, has been banned in China for years Since 2008, to be exact. Yet, again like so many others before it, the allure of so many potential users is just too strong to let go of.
The company has been dancing around the country for years now, making unofficial visits and trips, but now it looks like Facebook is finally ready to make an official move to get back into the country's good graces.
Facebook is looking to open a new sales office in China, perhaps in the next year, according to a report out from Bloomberg on Monday night. While that would not bring the service to the Chinese people, it would bring company employees into the country for the first time.
Right now, there are reportedly discussions going on that would allow Facebook to lease space in Beijing’s Fortune Financial Center, which is located in the city’s central business district.
For Facebook, whih has repeatedly stated that its goal is to connect the entire world to the Internet, China is a key player in that effort given the sheer size of its population and existing user base: 618 million Internet users, 500 million of which are on mobile. Along with India, China remains a giant that
That does not mean, however, that such a move would be consequence free. Just look at what happened to LinkedIn, which was recently able to strike a deal to enter the country earlier this year.
After LinkedIn made its China announcement, the company also came under fire after it admitted that it was only able to operate there because it complied with Chinese censorship laws. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner defended the decision in a blog post written shortly after.
"As a condition for operating in the country, the government of China imposes censorship requirements on Internet platforms. LinkedIn strongly supports freedom of expression and fundamentally disagrees with government censorship," Weiner said.
"At the same time, we also believe that LinkedIn’s absence in China would deny Chinese professionals a means to connect with others on our global platform, thereby limiting the ability of individual Chinese citizens to pursue and realize the economic opportunities, dreams and rights most important to them."
Facebook has already come under fire for censorship here at home, so you can only imagine what the reaction would when, not if, Facebook were to have to censor its content.
VatorNews has reached out to Facebook for comment on the report. We will update if we learn more.
(Image source: joelbuckland.com)