Facebook Launches Free Internet Browsing In Nigeria [See How To Use It]

Facebook Launches Free Internet Browsing In Nigeria [See How To Use It]
Internet giants, Facebook in collaboration with Airtel, have
launched Internet.org Free Basics, a free internet browsing app in
Free Basics is an initiative by Facebook and several other partner
companies to deliver zero-rated internet services to the 4 billion-odd
people still offline. Facebook reaches out to local telcos and get them
to zero-rate certain sites and services that meet Facebook’s criteria.
“Free Basics offers Nigerians, including 90 million people who are
currently offline, the opportunity to access news, health information
and services like Jobberman that were built by Nigerians and other
developers across West Africa — all without having to pay for data,”
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said.
Airtel is Facebook’s telecoms partner in Nigeria. As a result,
Nigeria will now 37 countries with Free Basic-activated countries.
“We’re pleased to take this big step forward in our partnership
with Facebook, bringing more people online in Africa’s most populous
country and helping to further narrow the digital divide,” said Airtel
Africa CEO, Christian de Faria about the partnership.
Critics, some of whom have organized under the banner of
“savetheinternet. in” say that the internet.org offers neither the
entire internet, nor is it a charitable organization, for which .org
domain names are usually used. Facebook responded by changing the name
of the service in 2015 to “Free Basics”.
Moreover, the critics argue that if Indians and other poor-world
internet internet users spend the vast majority of their time within
Facebook’s walled garden, that would force other businesses to set up
shop on Facebook rather than on their own websites or elsewhere on the
internet. This would give Facebook enormous power over competitors and
indeed over the internet.
There is some evidence to show their fears are not unfounded: a
survey last year found that millions of Facebook users in the poor world
don’t realize they are actually using the internet. Facebook’s critics
succeeded in getting Facebook to open up access to Free Basics. The new
regime allows any business, including competitors, apply to join if they
meet certain technical requirements.

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