• Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly expressed his company's intentions to re-enter China.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly expressed his company's intentions to re-enter China. (Photo : Twitter)

Social media giant Facebook is reportedly developing a new censorship tool as part of its efforts to re-enter China.

According to sources, Facebook has been developing the new software behind the scenes to help it penetrate the Chinese market, the New York Times reported. While the tool does not delete posts made, it is reportedly designed to block certain posts from appearing in the news feeds of users who are located in specific geographical areas.

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Facebook is also said to not be the one implementing the tool itself. Instead, it would provide it to third parties, such as its potential Chinese partner. The third-party company will have full control in determining which of the various posts it is monitoring would be shown to users.

However, the project is reportedly proving to be highly contentious within the company itself, with several employees expressing their misgivings about it. And while the code for software is said to be visible to most Facebook engineers, it has yet to be used. There are also no indications that it has indeed been offered to Chinese authorities.

Facebook first tried to penetrate the Chinese market in the early 2000s. However, stricter government censorship has led to it being banned in 2009 after it was deemed as a potential source of dissent. Since then, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly been seeking to re-enter the lucrative market.

In a statement provided by a spokesperson for the company, they clarified that, while they are still very much interested in re-entering China, there is still no final decision on the approach they will undertake. There was also no confirmation of the purported censorship tool.

Meanwhile, Chinese experts lauded the calls made by Americans to push for more censorship on Facebook following the controversy surrounding fake "news" proliferating on the social networking site, the Daily Caller reported.

The spread of fabricated "news" articles on Facebook, as well as Twitter and Google, has been cited as one of the contributing factors that led to incoming United States President Donald Trump's victory in the recently-concluded elections. According to Baidu founder Robin Li, the unregulated nature of the American Internet has resulted in the growth of misinformation, leading to Trump\s rise.

Facebook has recently announced that it is making efforts to combat the further spread of fake news on its site.