What Will Happen if Facebook is Unblocked in China?

Chinese government blocked Google recently. I don’t think I will see People’s Republic of China become a democratic country in my life. What do you think will happen if the Chinese government unblocks Facebook in China?

What if facebook is unblocked in China What if facebook is unblocked in China

Stephen Yan, Graduate of MA China Studies:

Not much really. Beijing would be too vulnerable if they can be defeated just by Facebook, Google or Twitter. They were banned in the name of politics but it was actually meant to boost the growth of their Chinese rivals.

And many Chinese people simply do not use FB due to language barrier and limited interaction with foreign contacts. Therefore/plus, this is way more fun for Chinese: Wechat. About 40% of Chinese people are actively using it, that’s more than 550 million active users.

Social media is a good means to reflect public opinion, but something more profound is required to change the entire political atmosphere. It should be more associated with people’s livelihood, and unfortunately FB is not popular or capable enough to do that: (, meanwhile, you might be surprised if I told you the vast majority of Chinese people are doing quite well as of now, so democracy is not an urgent call, an efficient central government is: )

Tom Wills, Lifelong student of Chinese culture:

Beida students would flood Tiananmen Square and, with help from the CIA, overthrow the Communist Party to install an American style democracy. The Dalai Lama would be sworn in as President. His first act would be to sign an executive order making Tibet a sovereign state. Then he would immediately resign and return there, leaving a power vacuum that would later be filled by Dennis Rodman.

Xinjiang would launch a jihad against Beijing, demanding a return to pre Tang Dynasty borders, and Taiwan would join the US as the 51st state. Japan would invade the Diaoyutai Islands, renaming them the Senkaku Islands and then doing nothing. The Philippines would overrun the Spratlys with their trawlers and … catch fish there.

Rupert Murdoch would buy the Peoples’ Daily and turn it into a tabloid modeled on The Sun. Mick Jagger would take Andy Lau hostage, and force him to copy his stage moves and release a Rolling Stones cover album. Eight hundred million Chinese will become members of Falun Gong, with another 400 million joining the Church of Scientology.

Naah … more like, the netizens of China will discover a whole new way to waste time, just like the rest of the world did before them. But it won’t last after the novelty wears off, because RenRen and WeChat are much more comfortable Chinese ways to waste time – everyone’s friends are already there and they have lots of oversized emojis that Facebook could never possibly imitate.

Chris Harwood, Canadian expat routed through the US living in China since 2011. Life is good:

Not much… There are other more inviting social networking applications subscribed by millions here, and they are better than facebook.  You may have some people join for English tuning but in my experience they will tire of it quickly and in many cases, culturally have trouble relating to the posts.

As I scanned facebook tonight from my apartment in China I find myself asking ‘why, why, why’.

Bruce Li, a Chinese with some overseas experiences:

You will start to see a lot of comments written in Chinese on Facebook and Twitter.

Hong Kong netizens and Taiwan netizens will be annoyed to see a lot of hostile and insulting contents from mainlanders in simplified Chinese. They might will start to hope that China never unblock the websites.

Chinese people will still use qq,weibo,wechat for their daily communications. Baidu will be forced to improve itself to compete with Google.

Do not exaggerate the importance of Facebook or Twitter. Many people are fine without them.

Last, let me say a word: the UI of Facebook and Twitter is really ugly in a Chinese’s eyes.

Ting Xu:

When I was in America, I used Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networks that Americans are using.

Usually the first thing I feel when I open either online web pages or their mobile apps is that the UI is simply ugly, untidy and not easy to read. And when I look deeper into them,  I found the logic of menus are usually not user-friendly. Company as large as Facebook spent too much space of their app menus to show the privacy settings or other. Are these settings necessary? Maybe. But Facebook puts them their to avoid law suit rather than help the users to achieve some useful function. (Sometimes few people like to sue a company who provides them free service for the service is not good enough lol)…

Regarding the mobile app, I noticed that Facebook and Twitter consume a lot of data but providing no more information than WeChat and QQ. I think they just don’t care about optimizing app performances. The iOS version of Quora is another example. Is it really necessary to refresh the entire frame every time I move into the detail page of a question and move back to main feed? The app works like a web browser rather than an app. It is slow and waste too much data.

As a person who uses Chinese apps more often, I have to say that the user-experience of these popular International social apps s-u-c-k…Forgive me for bad words. But before I explore the content, the web design and app performance are already pushing me away.

Once I look into the content. I feel that there is nothing more interesting or more important as well. I can not even come up with an example about the important and valuable information I acquired from Facebook (Trump is winning? China does not have democracy? lol). Even my American classmates do not really like using Facebook any more…

In terms of functions, Alipay and Wechat Pay in China has achieved I believe everything Apple Pay are still trying to achieve. We scan our phones to check out in restaurants, super markets. We order tickets, hotel rooms and we call cabs with one finger, in one app…

As a whole, I do not see any significant advantages Facebook or other social networks have over convenient and beautiful local apps…If there is one, maybe arrogance and ignorance? Because they even believe that the reason why they do not have too many Chinese users is that China Government bans them…

Maybe they will experience a user number explosion at the first several weeks of cancelling the banning order. But everything probably just returns to the beginning after all.

John WU:

The reason why Facebook is blocked in China is that Chinese government is eliminating the possibility of so-called ideology weapon. I have to say that many Chinese people are inclined to accept whatever popular on line and they are not ready for a democratic society, which requires their active participation and discussion of social issues. People are easy to be misled.

Unfortunately, the right to live a wealthier life and receive education is much more important than democracy nowadays in China. And all those thing are due to the development of economics, which requires a stable environment. China is a much bigger and complexed country with 56 different Ethnic Groups. What unites those people together are patriotism and the authority of government. At this stage, I believe that there is nothing more important than stability within the country.

In the near future, I believe that with more and more people well-educated, China will be a much open-minded country.

James Wilkinson, Climbing over the Great Firewall 2011-2015:

Nothing much. Facebook has been banned for almost 10 years now and that space has been filled by other forms of social media, particularly WeChat. Since social media depends on its audience, and since most Chinese are regularly using other products, uptake within China will be minimal. Everyone I know in China uses WeChat to share updates and keep in touch with friends, and even newcomers quickly switch to that system because of the environment they’re in. And aside from that there are other social media sites and apps – Sina Weibo, Renren (though I don’t think anyone really uses that ant more), QQ – that occupy the rest of that niche.

A few Chinese who lived abroad and want to easily contact old friends will use it; a few petty iconoclasts will use it; that will be about it.

It was originally banned, I believe, because of fears that it might be used to incite a revolution in China, as happened in the Middle East (the Chinese government has access to all Chinese social media so can delete problematic posts, block or ban troublesome users, or even have them investigated; can’t do any of that with a US based company like Facebook). But anyone wanting to try something like that in China probably won’t use FB even if unblocked because of FB’s real name policy and general paranoia about the web.

Not that this matters to the CPC. There’s literally no imperative to change how things are, so they simply won’t.

Tenzin Dolkar:

It will eye opener for the people of China. They will really know what’s going around the world. People in the democratic country who share their thought and view on the government. They will criticize where their government is doing wrong. People will share the videos of people demonstrating and the news reported about the government. Chinese people will feel that their rights are being neglected since they have no right to speak or comment against their government.

The Chinese government policies are communist ideology but their business is more of capitalist. Over the years people of China have suffered a lot. Labour in the factory are under waged and working conditions are bad. There is corruption in the ruling party and fight over the power. Power and money is centralized in the hand of few people. It is top down approach of government. What ever decision is made by the top politician is final and nothing is considered at the down level. There is nothing wrong with the communist policies and ideology. It is because few people are misusing it.

Jessica Lin, Fearless:

Even FB is not blocked, what you post in China will still be under the strict control by the government just like sina weibo. The content of anti-party will be blocked. For example, People in Canton can watch Hongkong TV news, but when there’s some sensitive political scandals of party, this special part will be blocked by showing some ads.

Joseph Boyle:

Everyone gets friend requests from Chinese students wanting to practice English.