Facebook tries to enter China incognito

Harvard University announced on Tuesday that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will address graduates at the 366th commencement ceremony on May 25

Facebook anonymously launched a new photo-sharing app in China in a new effort to make inroads in the world's most populous country.

But that's much to the dismay of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who - despite having learned Mandarin and having made several trips there to negotiate - has seen no success in bringing its cache of marquee apps - Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and others - to China, seen as tightly controlled and often censored. App Colorful Balloons was released through a local company, without any hints on the connection with Facebook.

It was unclear if China's various internet regulators were aware of the app's existence, the Times said.

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The secretive approach of launching the app could cause additional difficulties for Facebook with the government of China that maintains strict oversight as well as control over tech companies outside China.

China is the largest online market in the works.

As writes the edition, a hidden and anonymous a major foreign technology company in China is unprecedented. It is registered to an address in eastern Beijing, yet the room number listed in company registration documents could not be found amid a series of shabby, small offices on the building's fourth floor.

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It's no secret how badly Facebook wants to take on the Chinese market. Zhang's presence at such a high-level meeting indicated she is likely a Facebook adviser or employee.

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It appears this was far more than a knockoff app, however.

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Facebook has also experimented with getting back into China by creating a censorship tool that automatically suppresses certain posts in specific geographic areas, The New York Times reported back in November. The government directed tech companies in July to block their users from accessing secure internet systems known as virtual private networks (VPNs). The Chinese app even uses the messaging platform WeChat for connecting users in place of Facebook's network.

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