FACEBOOK HAS REPORTEDLY developed software that will stop certain posts from appearing in people's news feeds in specific geographic areas, namely China.
The social network has been banned in China since 2009, not because the country was sick of baby pictures and mundane gossip, but because of the government's strict censorship rules.
Like many other US technology firms, Facebook would like to reenter the market, which is home to more than 1.4 billion potential pocket-liners for Facebook.
The New York Times reports that, in a bid to reverse its ban in China, Facebook has developed a tool that would enable a third-party, probably in China, to prevent certain topics from showing up in users' feeds.
According to the report, the third-party in question would have "full control to decide whether those posts should show up in users' feeds", effectively silencing content that they deemed inappropriate.
This tool has allegedly received the personal backing of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and has been in development for "some time," according to three current and former Facebook employees.
When quizzed about the controversial tool at an internal event in July, Zuckerberg said: "It's better for Facebook to be a part of enabling conversation, even if it’s not yet the full conversation", according to the NYT report.
However, the report notes that there is no indication that Facebook has offered the tool to the Chinese government and, like other experiments, the tool could be shelved.
A Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement: "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. Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform."
Talk of a censorship tool comes as Facebook deals with yet more controversy, this time on the subject of fake news after made-up crap appeared in users' feeds in the run-up to the US presidential of issues.
This doesn't seem to be something that the social network is keen to tackle, but it's been keen to point out that 99 per cent of content people see on Facebook is authentic. µ
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