In light of the rumors raging over a Facebook China partnership with Baidu, we decided to check in on the recent China numbers from SocialBakers (a site that monitors Facebook users by country.) Back in February, we saw users more than double following Mark Zuckerberg’s visit in December. This month, the numbers are way, way down. Not a gradual drop off, mind you. On April 5, about 40% of Chinese Facebookers disappeared.
April 5 ring any bells? It’s two days after Ai Weiwei was arrested. Not sure whether this is just a strange coincidence (unlikely) but the approximately 250,000 that dropped off the face of the internet remain missing along with the rest of China’s activists.
Could it be VPN problems? The inability to connect to the site shouldn’t influence user count. Or maybe they didn’t disappear off Facebook, but instead changed their country of origin, or some other comparable data shift? Or did Facebook itself kick them off for using pseudonyms, as it did with activist Michael Anti last month? Let us know what you think!