A lot has been written about Facebook's potential expansion on the international digital horizon. To date, being blocked in China by the Great Firewall
is not where Mr. Zuckerberg would like to remain. There's over 1.3 billion citizens that reside in this authoritarian state where over a third are active netizens. As these numbers correlate to potential new ad revenue dollars, Facebook.cn could scale exponentially with the right deal. World domination - on the other hand -might be the ultimate goal.
But what is the right deal? In my conversations and queries with top-level Baidu officials, I have received "no comment" more than once whether or not Zuckerberg is in talks with China's number-one search engine (the country's Google equivalent) to assist in this endeavor. An alliance at this level would surely cut through a lot of the bureaucracy and expedite an amenable agreement between the two parties.
Initially the blogosphere was abuzz with the speculation that any agreement with Baidu or any other partner would be a separate entity, where China's FB would not interlinked with Facebook Central. This ultimately means that Zuckerberg would be agreeing to the Chinese government's stringent regulations on censorship (see my previous post, titled, "Will Facebook See The Light Of Day In The Shadow of China's Firewall
While Facebook is insisting they are not in negotiations to sign with anyone, Liz Gaines' report in All Things Digital
noted that Facebook's vision is to "connect users to one global social graph, rather than first starting with a closed system." If true, this would prove to be a very wise decision for Mr. Zuckerberg - as giving the Chinese access to a greater international community ratchets up even more ad revenue potential.
However, if one was to dig deeper into Zuckberg's ultimate goals, there might be ulterior motives lurking beneath the surface of things. According to the graphic novel, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks
," the motivation might be to 'divide and conquer.' In Zuckerberg's quest to dominate the Internet this next decade, his only present impediments to making that quest a reality are Google and China.
Since Zuckerberg has already witnessed how China can discard a major Internet player the likes of Google (aka Gobble in the novel). . .Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
. . . the satirical novel points to Web 3.0 as the next frontier where Facebook will actually face-off with China mano-a-mano.Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
And while the Chinese will continue to fight back. . . Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
The novel asserts, the Zuckerberg Empire
will surface as the ultimate victor in reigning over the future of the Internet.Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
In essence, these current negotiations are just the first steps toward that milestone. Zuckerberg needs to get a foothold within the country to initiate this process. Since Baidu, like Google lacks the "social media gene,
" China's search engine is no competition for the social network and merely a stepping stone for Facebook to achieve its ultimate goal.
So when Facebook's current official statement states, "we are currently studying and learning about China, as part of evaluating any possible approaches that benefit our users, developers and advertisers," I think the stage is set to add lucrative ad revenues to its coffers in the short-term and world domination as its long-range goal. Any wagers, on that bet?Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel