(Photo: Aly Song/Reuters)
A forbidden love story - the citizens of China and the social media monster may still have a chance to be together despite the government’s decade-long ban on the website.
For years, Mark Zuckerberg has been pushing to lift the ban in China and according to two anonymous Facebook associates, the company has been looking for office space in Shanghai. Though the Chinese government has been resistant to Facebook’s tireless attempts, a quick google search reveals endless results for “How to access Facebook in China”, leading most to believe that citizens are already accessing the site under the radar.
If the company gets office space in Shanghai, it will be used by employees developing a hardware called Building 8. An office in Shanghai would allow more support for Facebook employees when they are in China and would likely increase communication between the company and other Chinese establishments. If it all works out, Facebook will not be alone - Google is already on the list of banned companies with office space in China.
Just a few months ago, Facebook released a Chinese-language version of the Moments app called Colorful Balloons. Uncharacteristically, even as the app gained popularity in China, the government has not taken it down. Teng Bingsheng, a professor at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, interprets this to mean that Facebook has done something right. “It has symbolic meaning because it must be a result of good communication with the government,” he believes.
While office space in China will not ensure a lift on the country’s Facebook ban, it seems that it may end up being a small victory for the company. For the hopeful, it may even indicate an eventual happy ending for the Chinese citizens and the social network.