China's lamest Facebook clone yet

Earlier today, tech guru Kai-Fu Lee, one of China's most popular microbloggers, announced to his more than 35 million followers that Facebook and Twitter had become available in mainland China. The post asked readers to click on the image of Facebook, to which Lee (who's Taiwanese) responded, "I'm in [Taiwan's capital] Taipei...Happy April Fool's Day!" The post was forwarded more than 40,000 times; Josh Chin of the Wall Street Journal translated some of the comments it elicited, many of them angry.

It's true, Twitter and Facebook remain inaccessible in China without censorship circumvention tools. The popular Chinese social networking site resembles Facebook, but for those on the other side who want a taste of the real thing, may I suggest

I just found this site today, and it's the baldest Facebook rip-off I've seen to date. The site, which claims to be "powered by Facebook Chinese web 2.0," seems to basically be a landing page with advertisements. Lianpu, the word for face makeup used in operas, is the Chinese word Facebook uses (when I Googled it in Chinese, the real Facebook is the first hit).

According to the web information company Alexa, is China's 101,266th most popular website; it gets nearly 94 percent of its search-engine driven traffic from users who search for the seemingly meaningless set of numbers '1273894945.'

And there you have it.


Egyptian prime minister takes heat for tweeting about Smurfs

With Egypt's economy entering crisis mode, you'd think government officials would have their hands full. But Prime Minister Hesham Kandil seems to be finding time for the obscure mobile game Smurfs' Village. Or at least that's how his Twitter account made it seem on Monday, when a tweet that may have been automatically generated by the app appeared on his feed, reading "Doctor Smurf prescribes cakes, pies and smurfberries as part of a healthy diet."

The bizarre tweet has since been deleted from his account, but not quickly enough to prevent an inevitable onslaught of snark. The blog Egyptian Chronicles, for instance, ran with the gleeful headline, "The PM of Smurfs Village!!"

One Twitter user blamed the politician's smurf addiction for Egypt's current state of turmoil:

Another pointed out the tweet's problematic public health implications:

Some people, however, were a bit more understanding:

We've blogged before about politicians whose accounts have accidentally been hijacked by apps after their children used their phones to play games. Our advice still applies: In an age where a stray tweet can provoke an almost automatic backlash, politicians should keep their phones out of the hands of their children. Unless, that is, they're playing the games themselves. 

Screenshot of Twitpic