Facebook Secretly Launches App 'Colorful Balloons' In China

Facebook seems to have snuck an app into China after years of struggling to convince the country's leadership to stop blocking its virtual programs, according to a New York Times report published Friday.

Facebook's #Mark Zuckerberg discreetly tested the company's new app called "Colorful Balloons", a photo-sharing app that is now under #china's Youge Internet Technology. App Colorful Balloons was released through a local company, without any hints on the connection with Facebook.

The only explanation to this could be that the social media giant wants to learn whether or not people are attracted to apps without a big brand connected to it.

Facebook, which, as its program blocked in China to bypass censorship released app without their logo and name. The covert, and perhaps creative, tactics conducted to achieve a long-sought goal exemplifies Facebook's (and the larger USA tech community's) desire to be accepted by China. The app was released by a local company called Youge Internet Technology in Beijing, without no mention of Facebook's involvement. Facebook confirmed Saturday that it launched the app.

Amid China's ongoing internet crackdown, Facebook has been able to penetrate the online corridors of the communist nation without its law enforcement authorities learning it. Facebook, which already has two billion users onboard, has been kept outside Chinese borders, for far too long.

The Chinese government took down Facebook from its internet space shortly after the July 2009 Urumqi riots as Xinjiang independence activists were using it as one of their means of communication. "Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside of China by using our ad platform". It's not clear if the Chinese government is aware of Facebook's efforts: the Cyberspace Administration of China didn't respond to a request for comment from the Times.

Vanessa Coleman