Zuckerberg’s Chinese New Year video shows Facebook hasn’t given up on China
Facebook might be blocked in China, but Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t given up on trying to warm relations between the world’s most populous country and the world’s biggest social network.
Zuckerberg, 31, posted a video to Facebook on Sunday in which, speaking in Mandarin, he wished everyone a happy new year. His wife, pediatrician and philanthropist Priscilla Chan, and their newborn daughter, Max, also appeared in the video.
In the minute-and-a-half clip, Zuckerberg announced that Max now has a Chinese name (Chen Mingyu), and that he likes roast duck.
The video is the latest in a string of events where Zuckerberg has spoken Chinese in front of an audience.
In October he gave a 20-minute speech in Mandarin during a visit to Tsinghua University in Beijing. In 2014, he conducted a Facebook Q&A at Tsinghua University, also entirely in Mandarin. He started learning Chinese in 2010.
Analysts have said Zuckerberg’s Chinese language efforts won’t necessarily soften the Chinese government’s Facebook ban, but it at least makes him seem accommodating and shows he is willing to make an effort.
China isn’t the only country where Facebook is struggling to make headway, though.
In a setback for its Internet.org initiative, Indian regulators on Monday banned free mobile data programs that favor some Internet services over others.
The move effectively blocks Facebook’s Free Basics program, a partnership in which cellphone carriers offer customers free access to a text-only version of Facebook, as well as select news, health and job services.
Zuckerberg took to his Facebook page on Monday to say the company remained committed to its program in India.
“While we’re disappointed with today’s decision, I want to personally communicate that we are committed to keep working to break down barriers to connectivity in India and around the world,” he said. “Internet.org has many initiatives, and we will keep working until everyone has access to the internet.”