Facebook Launching Censorship Tool to Capture the Chinese Market
After Facebook launched in 2004, it had a Chinese language option and had a very few users from mainland China. Since 2009, Facebook was banned in China. But now, the company is trying to gain access to the Chinese market.
China always had heavily censored media. This includes television, radio and even internet. Facebook was blocked since it had contents that would be ‘sensitive’ to Chinese users. Now, Facebook is secretly working on a censorship tool that would allow the social network giant to operate in the country under their norms.
How it Works
The tool that Facebook is working on will allow another third party to block some content for certain geographic areas. This means, some company, such as the Chinese government can use the tool to themselves tailor Facebook feeds for the people in their country.
Ethics and Morality
China, right now, has 1.4 billion potential new users. This will be a gold mine for Facebook, but it also raises some ethical questions. Recently, the results of the US elections were told to have been influenced by the posts that people saw on their Facebook news feed. Since Facebook shows people only what they want to see, they barely see other opinions that differ from theirs. Moreover, it was said that a lot of fake news circulated on Facebook that not only affected the election results, but also tarnished the company image. So, the question is that why does Facebook not block these contents right at the source, instead of allowing the government for a certain region to control content? Creating a censorship tool actually contradicts Facebook’s image of being an ethical and socially aware company that wants to build a more “open world”.
Zuckerberg, in one of this posts said that
This is an area where I believe we must proceed very carefully though. Identifying the ‘truth’ is complicated. While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources, often gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted.
Maybe, in the end, Facebook is just another piece of software, and the creator or the publisher of the information need to take more responsibility.