Last year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a project called Internet.org. It’s a partnership between Facebook and other tech companies designed to make internet access more accessible across the world.

Now Internet.org has released an app designed to help do that. Install the Internet.org app on your phone and you have free access to a handful of websites including GoogleSearch, Wikipedia, AccuWeather and of course Facebook.

At launch the app is available to Airtel customers in Zambia. Eventually Internet.org could reach partnerships with additional carriers in more countries.

internet org

Airtel customers can either install the Internet.org app or access the same features from the Facebook app for Android. If you have a feature phone that doesn’t run Android, but which does have a web browser, you can just navigate to Internet.org to get started.

The app and service is designed to let people access at least some internet content without racking up data charges.

Many folks in developing nations already use cellphones to communicate even though they may not have a computer, internet connection, or even a land line at home. While the Internet.org app doesn’t provide free access to all of the content available on the web, it could be a major step in helping people in developing nations get online.

At the same time, it provides Airtel a way to get subscribers hooked on their service (and could be a foot in the door toward getting them to pay for access to additional sites) and helps Facebook and other members of the Internet.org initiative try to broaden its user base. Right now there are billions of people around the world who have never tried to use Facebook because internet access is out of reach.

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9 replies on “Internet.org app aims to bring free Google, Facebook, Wikipedia access to the developing world”

  1. Companies that make money from ads giving free Internet access to millions is not weird. They will make money from it.

  2. Let’s do the developing countries a favor and leave Facebook out of the equation.
    Of the three it has the least actual value and its inclusion smells fishy.

    1. Well, the whole internet.org (internet for everybody) initiative is being headed by Facebook. So leaving that app out is not going to happen.

      1. Nice of them to create new revenue streams where revenue is the shortest.

        1. At least they are trying to get more people to have access to the Internet. Despite their goal of getting people to use Facebook and their services, these people gaining access to the Internet can still be a great benefit to their lives (ie. (at home, schools, businesses, etc.).

          1. we should put policies in place that curb the tax evasion shenanigans that Facebook, Google and other tech giants engage in. The massive funds that would bring can be used to set up a program with free internet access for developing countries without forcing people there a tied down, pre filtered version of the internet. TL;DR: no to tax evasion, no to minitel 2.0, no to Facebook, yes to internet, all of it.

    2. There is nothing fishy about it. Facebook will benefit even if only one in a thousand people using the service create themselves Facebook accounts.

      Having access to Wikipedia alone will open people up to a world of information they have never had access to before, and there is no requirement to use Facebook.

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