There’s never been a better time to install a VPN, especially if you’ve come to rely on your social media feeds to discover news articles that matter to you. According to a new report, Facebook has developed a tool that will let third-parties (ie, the government) censor posts based on your geographic location.
Reportedly, this new tool was created with founder Mark Zuckerberg’s support, but that it has not been implemented nor are there plans in place to use it in any specific region. However, one of the reasons behind its development may have been to reintroduce Facebook into China, where it has been blocked since 2009. Facebook currently has offices in Hong Kong that sell advertising to industries in the region, but affording the government the option to block content that comes through the social media site based on its geographic settings could go a long way towards reopening Facebook as a portal for individual use.
Obviously, this isn’t going to sit well with people who have deeply rooted fears of government control over internet content, but this is by far not the first case of its kind. A number of other countries already censor the internet for their citizens, often with support from US-based companies. If this tool opens the door for better sharing of individual connections despite the block of news and banned websites, it still goes a long way towards fostering a global environment and breaking down geographically based barriers.
Of course, the fact that Facebook is currently missing out on the single largest population in an individual company is no small reason to overlook. The potential for advertising revenue alone makes cooperation with the government–despite the cries of censorship–a huge enticement. However, employees within the company have stated that the tool has not been offered to anyone and has not been put into use, but that it is there should the right climate for use come up.
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