What Happened to 250,000 Chinese Facebook Users on April 5, 2011?

Speculation is rife about Facebook’s plans for China and, specifically, whether the company has, or has not, netted a deal with Baidu to bring its social networking services to China. In light of these reports, Shanghaiist decided to check out the numbers of current Facebook users in China, and found a surprise:

Back in February, we saw users more than double following Mark Zuckerberg’s visit in December. This month, the numbers are way, way down. Not a gradual drop off, mind you. On April 5, about 40% of Chinese Facebookers disappeared.

April 5 ring any bells? It’s two days after Ai Weiwei was arrested. Not sure whether this is just a strange coincidence (unlikely) but the approximately 250,000 that dropped off the face of the internet remain missing along with the rest of China’s activists.

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