China’s Facebook Few — 14,000 and Falling
The Wall Street Journal reports on the declining number of active Facebook users in China, due both to the company’s decision not to aggressively pursue the China market and the government’s block of the site:
Then, to the chagrin of both expatriate and Chinese users (the number of which appeared for a time to be growing), China’s censors blocked Facebook. Blocks of overseas Web sites such as YouTube.com are a fact of life here, barely acknowledged and never explained by the government. (Many of these sites actually matter very little to Chinese Internet users who have their own favorite Web sites to watch videos on.)
Internet companies in China need licenses to operate, and are required to police themselves, filtering out any illegal content, which ranges from pornographic to politically sensitive material. Web sites based elsewhere may be blocked in their entirety or users can be periodically locked out if they continuously surf onto Web sites that contain certain key words.
Many Facebook users found proxies and other methods of connecting to Facebook, and many others stood by, hoping the Web site would be unblocked quickly (no luck yet). Meanwhile, according to Inside Facebook, the Web site’s latest statistics showed only 14,000 active users in China as of the beginning of October, down from a million in July.
The article also mentions Chinese netizens takeover the the Berlin Twitter Wall to express their anger at Internet censorship:
Facebook aside, Chinese Internet users are becoming increasingly aware of the censorship strategies used by the government here, which benefited from a lower profile before authorities became more aggressive this year. Many have taken to complaining about China’s Internet censorship, often referred to as the “Great Firewall,” on the Berlin Twitter Wall, a Web site set up to aggregate people’s thoughts on the fall of the Berlin wall 20 years ago.