Facebook OKs local firm's launch of Moments-like app in China

Facebook OKs local firm's launch of Moments-like app in China

Facebook's interest in mainland China has prompted it to create a photo-sharing application that has been released discreetly, without the social network's brand being attached. It would only last 24 hours.

Through its Colorful Moments app, Facebook could learn how to be more like the WeChats and Weibos of China.

It's dubbed the Colorful Balloons app, and, according to the Chinese app store's description, it works similarly to Facebook's Moments app. Whatsapp - which Facebook owns - was also partially blocked in July, but creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for being a person that doesn't take a no for an answer. But the Facebook name is nowhere to be seen.

In May, it's believed Facebook launched the app through a local company called Youge Internet Technology. This newest app is a much more covert operation though.

Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg has made repeated attempts to woo Chinese authorities, learning Mandarin and touting a book by President Xi Jinping. The target is to create a software for the country that helps repress posts from appearing in a particular geographic location. The Cyberspace Administration of China didn't respond to a request for comments from The New York Times.

The app has a few distinct features that cater to the Chinese market.

"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 by email.

However, Zhang Jingme - who is believed to be the purported developer and Facebook's adviser or employee - has been present at one crucial meeting between Facebook and Chinese officials.