What’s Really Going On With Facebook’s China Plans

All Things Digital provides more details on Facebook’s reported upcoming launch in China. Among other things, the report say Facebook has opted to join their China service with their global network, and not create a independent China-only network:

…Despite its progressively weaker denials, numerous sources said Facebook is preparing to launch in China. Now, the social networking giant is working out the details of a localized Chinese offering and trying to execute them as quickly as is prudent.

Perhaps the most important detail of Facebook’s planned China offering is that it will likely be connected to the greater international Facebook community, rather than operated as an independent social network.

While some had advised Facebook to start with a closed Chinese service, sources said the company seems inclined to launch it as a network linked to the rest of the world.

That’s not a decision without controversy, due to the strictures of operating within an authoritarian state.

When Facebook users outside China connect with users inside China, sources said they will need to click through a warning that any material visible to Chinese users may also be visible to the Chinese government.

On his blog, the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos provides an anecdote about Facebook in China:

With rumors flying that Facebook may try to enter China under a partnership with Baidu, I bumped into a longtime Web executive in Beijing last week and asked what he thought of the prospects: “Facebook might only get in here if it changes its name for China. ‘Facebook’ won’t fly,” given its association with the uprisings in the Middle East, he said. “Google wouldn’t agree to that, because of the whole don’t-be-evil thing. But Facebook? You never know.”