Business Insider recently reported that China is trying to buy a $1.2 billion stake in Facebook, giving the country "a huge chunk" of the world's most popular social playground. If you're an active Facebook user, China's interest in Zuckerberg's social networking site is a scary one given the country's penchant for censorship. But should you really be concerned?
As Business Insider reports it, Citibank is trying to acquire up to $1.2 billion of Facebook stock for two sovereign wealth funds, one from the Middle East and the other Chinese. That sounds big, but Business Insider argues a billion dollar investment wouldn't buy China much influence in a social networking site expected to fetch $100 billion or more when it goes public. What's more, Business Insider says Beijing would be acquiring nonvoting stock, and shareholders wouldn't even have the right to look at what's on the site.
That's all fine and dandy, but according to Forbes, "there are other reasons to be concerned." Forbes argues that "Chinese leaders clearly view social media as a threat to their rule, especially after seeing its force-multiplying effect in the ongoing Arab Spring protests that have topped governments." Forbes believes that Chinese leaders have set their sites on controlling social media. Forbes points out that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited China in December and is set to return.
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"After the disastrous China experiences of Yahoo and Google and the troubled history of Microsoft there -- not to mention Beijing's recent tirade against foreign social media -- the Facebook founder appears both arrogant and naïve.," Forbes says.
You can read the rest of Forbes' perspective here.