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Facebook, Twitter Say They Are Not Heading to China

by AFP

Lionel Bonaventure, Nicolas Asfouri—AFP

Top executives claim it is not currently a priority for them to enter the Chinese market, which has blocked the U.S.-based social networks

Top Facebook and Twitter executives told lawmakers on Wednesday they had no immediate plans to enter China, which has blocked the U.S.-based social networks.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg dismissed any speculation that the leading platform was planning anything for China despite several high-profile visits there by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

Sandberg said reaching China’s large population would be important to Facebook’s mission of connecting the world but added that “in order to go into China, we would have to be able to do so in keeping with our values, and that’s not possible right now.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, appearing at the same Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, said in response to a question that his company has no plans to move into China either. “When we were blocked, we decided it wasn’t a fight worth fighting right now, and we had other priorities,” Dorsey said.

Facebook and Twitter were among foreign web services blocked by the Beijing government in 2009 as part of a crackdown aimed at curbing the flow of information from dissidents. Chinese-based web services are heavily filtered and monitored.

Recent reports have said Google is considering returning to China with a search engine that would be acceptable to the Beijing government, raising concerns among Google employees and human rights activists. Google has not commented publicly but some reports describe the effort as exploratory.

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