Shanghai will be Facebook friendly

China is hoping that foreigners visiting the free-trade zone of Shanghai will not feel so detached from home by making Facebook accessible.

Access to Facebook and other politically sensitive web services is to be allowed in China’s new Shanghai free-trade zone, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. The newspaper also said on Tuesday that foreign telecommunications companies will be able to apply to operate in the zone.

China generally bans access to many leading western social media and news websites and services, through a heavyweight censorship tool jokingly known as the Great Firewall. Shanghai is the newest of China’s 15 free-trade zones – enclaves where certain economic rules are relaxed – and the newspaper said the localized unblocking of sites such as Facebook was designed to help foreigners investing and living there “feel like at home”.

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