Is Facebook blocked in China?

Is Facebook blocked in China? How can you access it?

Yes, Facebook is blocked in China. Users who attempt to access the website from the mainland will be greeted with an error page. On the app, the feed will not refresh and users will not receive notifications.

The same goes for Facebook Messenger. Users of the chat app cannot send or receive messages while in mainland China.

Tip: VPNs allow you to unblock sites from within China, however many VPN’s themselves have been blocked from workings so pick a service from our China VPN list.

Facebook was first blocked in China in 2009 following a series of riots in the western capital of the Xinjiang province, Urumqi. Independence activists, mainly made up of minority Muslim Uyghurs, reportedly used Facebook as part of their communications network.

Facebook has been blocked ever since. As a western social media company, Chinese authorities have no control over the content of the site. Furthermore, users in western countries could freely communicate with users in China. Messenger communication is encrypted and cannot be deciphered if intercepted. For these reasons, Facebook is perceived as a threat that could undermine Communist Party rule in China.

Blocking Facebook and other social networks in China also has an economic benefit. By blocking Facebook, China gave rise to homegrown social networks. RenRen was the first Facebook-like social network to become popular after Facebook fell, but it later fell into obscurity as Chinese users flocked to WeChat, the country’s most popular social network and messaging app.

How to unblock Facebook in China

You can access Facebook and Facebook Messenger while in China by connecting to a VPN. Short for virtual private network, a VPN is service that encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and then routes it through a server in a remote location of the user’s choice. In this case, you could connect to a VPN server that isn’t blocked outside of China.

VPNs are normally paid subscription services purchased on a monthly or yearly basis. Reputable VPN services give users a wide selection of servers to choose from worldwide, unlimited bandwidth, strong security, and no data caps.

Be aware that China has caught on to the practice of using VPNs to bypass the Great Firewall, the country’s advanced nationwide internet censorship system. Some VPNs may have had their servers blocked. For this reason, we recommend taking a look at our list of the best VPNs for China.

Also note that not all VPN providers offer both mobile and desktop apps. Unless you want to deal with a tedious manual configuration, be sure that the VPN you sign up for makes apps for the devices you wish to access Facebook on.

Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN. It makes apps for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux (command-line). A reliable provider in China for some time now, ExpressVPN offers a wide range of servers, fast speeds, and simple-to-use apps.

Once you’ve signed up for an account, just download and install the software. Select a VPN location outside of China where Facebook isn’t blocked, and hit Connect. Once the connection is established, you can access both Facebook and Messenger normally.