Facebook wants to make sure everyone on the planet can access knowledge, job opportunities—and, of course, create Facebook accounts—through Internet access provided by the social network.
The company announced the Internet.org app on Thursday, a way for people in developing countries to use free data and access Facebook, Google search and other online resources. Through a partnership with telecom provider Airtel, the Internet.org app will be available for free, initially rolling out in Zambia.
The app is part of Facebook’s larger Internet.org initiative to help bring Internet connectivity to parts of the world where data can be cost prohibitive, and Wi-Fi is both expensive and spotty. In many of these regions, the only way people can connect to the Internet is through mobile devices.
Facebook plans to connect the world by deploying things like satellites and drones to power data connectivity in countries like Zambia, and partner with mobile operators like Airtel to provide free services.
This data doesn’t cost Facebook a dime, because Airtel pays for its users’ free access. This partnership works for both companies—if people can use Facebook for free, they’ll likely sign up for an account to stay connected to friends and family, and, when Internet.org users are ready to leave the confines of the free data, Airtel will be able to get more people to pay for it.
If users go outside of the 13 different free websites—say, by clicking on a link in a Facebook post—they’ll be notified that data charges will apply.
People using the Internet.org app aren’t required to have a Facebook account, a Facebook spokesperson told ReadWrite.
“Soon, everyone will be able to use the internet for free to find jobs, get help with reproductive health and other aspects of health, and use tools like Facebook to stay connected with the people they love,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook.
Of course, not everyone has a mobile device, but certainly everyone with Internet.org app compatibility will be able to benefit from this new partnership.
Subscribers can visit these 13 websites for free:
Lead image by Flickr user fromusing
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