In May, Facebook launched Colorful Balloons secretly, an application that let users share photos similar to Facebook’s moment, in China, the country that has banned the American corporation and online social media, according to a report from The New York Times.

Facebook’s Moments let people share pictures of every activity they’re doing at the moment: eating an ice cream with a partner, watching a soccer game, running at the beach, etc. Unlike any other photo uploaded on Facebook, the “moment” will be deleted at the exact hour it was first uploaded to the social media, but on the next day. It would only last 24 hours.

Image credit: The Verge
Image credit: The Verge

Colorful Balloons appears to be similar to Moments, but rather than interfacing with Facebook, the app will work with the biggest social network in China: WeChat.

Facebook released Colorful Balloons through local company Youge Internet Technology

In 2009 and due to the Great Firewall of China, Facebook was banned in the country. Whatsapp – which Facebook owns – was also partially blocked in July, but creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for being a person that doesn’t take a no for an answer.

In May, it’s believed Facebook launched the app through a local company called Youge Internet Technology. It didn’t leave any hint of branding, or “Facebook” anywhere in its name, but a mark to let people know it truly was them. According to The New York Times, it “shares the look, function, and feel of Facebook’s Moments app.” This is the first time that Facebook’s is related with Colorful Balloon’s launch.

Image credit: Reuters / Ted S. Warren / Poo / Quartz
Image credit: Reuters / Ted S. Warren / Poo / Quartz

Zuckerberg – who also learned to speak Mandarin, although many of his visit to the country were forbidden – has been working and meeting with government officials to reintroduce the social network into the communist country that has a population of 700 million internet users. The target is to create a software for the country that helps repress posts from appearing in a particular geographic location. This really demonstrates the effort of online companies to form part of not just one country, but all the world.

Chinese government didn’t comment about Colorful Balloon

At the moment, the Chinese government has said no word about Colorful Balloon. The Cyberspace Administration of China didn’t respond to a request for comments from The New York Times. This could represent a huge problem for the country since they might not like the idea of Facebook taking advantage, even if the app avoids local censorship laws. This might help Facebook know a little more about how the Chinese market works, but it also can damage the small chance it has of regaining its rapidly dwindling influence in the zone.

Facebook has either confirmed any explicit relation between the not-so-secret application, according to a statement to The New York Times

“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways,” a spokesperson says.

However, Zhang Jingme – who is believed to be the purported developer and Facebook’s adviser or employee – has been present at one crucial meeting between Facebook and Chinese officials.

Source: The Verge