Facebook has been trying to make a comeback in China following an earlier ban that ceased its operations. Unfortunately, it seems to face complicated circumstances every time an opportunity to return comes.
Alongside Twitter, Facebook was blocked in 2009 when the Chinese government blamed social media for ethnic unrest. According to local reports, riot leaders in the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region used social networks to cause tension.
Many believed that the ban was only temporary, but it turned out otherwise as China still keeps the social network behind the “great firewall” to this date.
Facebook reportedly tried several strategies to win China back. Since the ban, Facebook has courted government officials, hired a China-policy chief and started working on tech that supports the country’s position on censorship, the Wall Street Journal said.
In the same year, Chinese authorities gave Facebook a license to open an office in Beijing. However, it reportedly lasted for only three months, leaving executives sad and frustrated.
Last year, Zuckerberg made headlines after doing a “smog jog” through famous Beijing landmarks Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven.
And, more recently, he tried his best to make dumplings for Chinese New Year.
But Facebook may not give up just yet. Speaking to analysts in 2015, Zuckerberg said:
“Obviously you can’t have a mission of wanting to connect everyone in the world and leave out the biggest country. Over the long term, that is a situation we will need to figure out a way forward on.”
Spokeswoman Debbie Frost said the social network is still learning:
“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country. However, we have not made any decision on our approach to China.”
If Facebook succeeds in returning to China, it will face stiff competition against local services WeChat, Weibo and QQ.
Should Facebook even continue its goal to get into China?