Facebook has released a new app in China that is not carrying its name. The app called “Colorful Balloons” is a photo-sharing app and it is similar to Facebook’s Moments app in terms of look, feel and functionality.
The New York Times reported that the app was released by a local company named Youge Internet Technology, which is said to be based in Beijing. The Colorful Balloons app is designed to collect photos from a smartphone’s photo albums and then share them on social media, similar to Moments by Facebook.
Further, in the rest of the world, Moments app connects users through Facebook. Colorful Balloons uses China’s biggest social network, WeChat instead. Since social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked by China, it has triggered the popularity of home-grown messaging app WeChat, owned by Tencent.
Facebook seems to have ensured that the app does not go viral for now. When people post photos from Colorful Balloons on WeChat can see a link that lets other users download the app. But the link does not work, and people have to go to an app store for downloading instead of sharing it.
Also, it is still not clear whether China’s internet regulators are aware of the app’s existence just yet. The stealth approach could cause Facebook difficulties with the Chinese government that maintains strict control over the internet.
To recall, last month, in assent with the recently passed laws by Chinese Government, Apple had removed all major VPN apps from the App Store in China.
It is to be noted that China’s internet censorship has left big players like Facebook and Google out of its market with a huge audience of more than 700 million internet users.
“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 Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
Facebook along with its apps has banned in China since 2009, followed by its photo-sharing app Instagram in 2014. Recently, its messaging app WhatsApp was also partially blocked in China.