Facebook has been secretly testing an app in China called Colorful Balloons

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But like a lot of US companies, Facebook has had a hard time breaking through China's onerous digital censorship laws.

Western social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked by China's censors, which has helped drive up the popularity of home-grown messaging app WeChat, owned by Tencent and microblogging service Weibo.

The app is named Colorful Balloons, and is similar to Facebook's Moments. But according to The New York Times, Facebook might have found a subtle workaround to penetrating the country. However, it seems like Facebook is trying to make sure the app doesn't spread photos widely, which could be a way to keep the project under the radar. Facebook recently saw it app WhatsApp shutdown in China this summer. It was released through a separate company without any hint of Facebook's affiliation.

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In a statement to the Times, Facebook did not confirm or deny its involvement with Colorful Balloons. The release of the app could give Facebook a better understanding of the social media habits of China's 700 million internet users.

Facebook's intent to return and relaunch in the Chinese region is not a secret especially to the government of China. The NY Times first revealed the testing of the app and called the action "unprecedented" given how China has been strict about rules involving social media applications. Last year, the Times reported the company had developed a censorship tool to get back into the country by suppressing posts from appearing in people's news feeds in certain geographic areas.

Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg has made a big point of meeting with Chinese politicians, studying Communist Party propaganda, Mandarin and even speaking it in public.

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