A lot has been said in the past few weeks about Facebook entering China, and this morning, another expert expressed his opinion that the social network will at some point make an entrance. Gady Epstein, the Beijing bureau chief for Forbes, even used a form of the word "inevitable" to describe the move.
A little background information: Mark Zuckerberg has been visiting China this month, supposedly on vacation, but also just happening to meet with the execs of a number of important local companies. And one Baidu representative even came out in support of Facebook doing business in China.
Epstein wrote in response, "Will Facebook eventually play nice with the Chinese government, ushering in an era of a censored China Facebook? My guess: Yes."
Epstein reasoned, "Zuckerberg has already answered the question of whether Facebook will go to China with a question of his own: ‘How can you connect the whole world if you leave out 1.6 billion people?’ That powerful notion – connecting the whole world – is what will trump arguments against a Facebook entry into China even in the eyes of many Western users."
Then Epstein noted, "Will there be blowback, outrage and constant discussion of the impact of censorship on Facebook in China? Of course. Will much of that venting take place on Facebook? Most likely. Let a hundred Facebook groups bloom; Zuckerberg will welcome them. If the viral campaign against you is taking place on your platform, you’re in good shape."
That’s an interesting point. Plus, in the long term, it’s hard to imagine people worrying more about a social network than the poisonous dog food and toys that were traced back to China, and protests regarding those problems have blown over.