back to article Facebook's freebie for poor people under fire again

Two-thirds of the planet doesn't have internet access - but some aren't keen to see Facebook make a bridge across that digital divide. Not least of these will be arch-rival Google. Between them, the two scoop up 99 per cent of all new digital ad spending, but there's everything to play for in emerging markets. Facebook's free …

The interesting thing is that to make money out of very poor people you have to enable them to make money.

Of course if it's your competitor trying to do it then, fuck 'em the poor can wait.

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Stop

Facilitating exploitation

The interesting thing is that to make money out of very poor people you have to enable them to make money.

That's not true. There is plenty of money to be made by providing facilities and information to the people that control, exploit and impoverish them.

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WTF?

That's what I don't get...

..even if you do provide 'free' internet access to the world's poor, FB ads or Google ads to them are pointless: the dollar a day they earn is going on food, not the tat being pushed in the ads. Even the dumbest advertiser knows this and will screen the poor out of their advertising targets so as not to waste money.

That's even before you work out what hardware platform they are going to use: when you are living hand-to-mouth, even a $50 handset is not going to be on your priority list.

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Re: That's what I don't get...

Not all the poors earn just $1 a day, and still, if you can get that $1 from a billion of poors, instead of your competitors - is still a billion. You can also look for ways to make them indebted with you, and than strip them away of any usable property they may have, even if it's small patch of land, but bring together many patches of land, and a new area to "develop" may be created. When they're addicted to you as a source, you'll also have a lot of political leverage, something someone will be ready to pay you for.

Poors have always been a source of revenues anyway...

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Re: That's what I don't get...

I would assume that this will link in with using old handsets that people have given to Charity for the starving (because phones are so nutritious).

All find and dandy except for the data-mining etc. which will then occur.

More appropriate questions would be:

Will they hand out solar chargers with the handsets?

If not will paying to charge the phone to Face book become more important than feeding your child (with whatever you can get)?

Will you need to pay for network access to connect the phone, even if the data is free?

If the data is dumbed down / limited then will it be Facebook that decides what is actually shown?

And finally - how many people are literate enough to use a phone in a 3rd world country.

This has potential to do great good with education, health awareness etc. but I have a feeling it will actually do great harm by exploiting the already poor and (assumed) poorly educated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's what I don't get...

I'm assuming that you have never actually seen facebook and mobile solutions being used in poor /developing/3rd world (or whatever term you prefer) countries (not a bad thing, just thought I'd fill you in :))

Mobile Phones: Most people have them, not smart phones but feature phones that give you a facebook app, a slow way to surf the net, whatsapp, sms messaging, etc.

Infrastructure: Even villages that don't have electricity in all the houses still have a large mobile phone mast somewhere in it or next to it. Most areas with people have coverage.

Power: Either you have electricity in your house (even if your house is not to western standards), or if you don't then you pay a small fee to have your phone charged in the local village shop.

Services: Places like kenya (one of the richer african countries, still has pockets of what we would deem poverty) have embraced mobile everything a long time ago.. they have a extremely successfull banking/payment system called Mpesa.. allows you to transfer money from mobile to mobile via text messaging.. everyone is using it..some of their solutions are decades ahead of places like the UK.

caveat emptor: my info is about 5 years out of date.. by now may things may have changed - there may be more smart phones than feature phones now, and electrification of houses may have progressed.

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It's morally wrong inflicting Facebook on anyone, let alone the poor.

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No internet better than facebook's internet

The sub-title had me confused as it seemed to conflict with the main title. On further reading it cleared up - phrasing?

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"Leap of net neutrality from 'carriers shall not charge some content more' to 'poor people shall not get free partial Internet' = astounding".

I'm not sure it's astounding; in the very minimum, it's technically correct... I mean, the point of net neutrality rules is that you shouldn't offer a data service where your own content is privileged over other people's content, because it's an unfair competition between the two types of content, right?

That said, I think there are plenty of places that offer you free wifi, but only to look at the company's website. Does that infringe on net neutrality?

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"That said, I think there are plenty of places that offer you free wifi, but only to look at the company's website. Does that infringe on net neutrality?"

Probably not, because they're confining you to an INTRAnet where external access is not expected.

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Anonymous Coward

perspective

a dollar a day where cost for shelter and food is something a person provides themselves, is worth a lot more than it sounds to those of us sitting in developed urban environments paying a couple thousand dollars a month in rent alone, with taxation rates 20% of that.

People getting hung up on the raw numbers miss the point. Poverty doesn't come from lack of numbers or lack of crap, or lack of credit card debt. It is lack of survival and growth necessities, lack of opportunity as defined by the culture a person lives in, which really isn't measurable by the Almighty Dollar.

The benefit of this access is NOT monetary, which is only a "scorecard". it's about Hearts and Minds, controlling perception by controlling the input. Its what political animals pay FORTUNES for. Whomever controls the access (and gets defended because "its a private company so they can censor what they want!) controls the decision making and later, the will. Any monetary value is just points on the gameboard.

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yet another symbolic gesture

if Zuck really DID care about "the poor", he would start businesses that they could be EMPLOYED at. And, if they're not sufficiently educated, build SCHOOLS. etc.

Zuck: Do something that will help SOLVE the problem, and STOP rewarding people for their unlucky circumstance in life. There is NO virtue in poverty. So DO NOT REWARD IT! And if you want to SOLVE it, CREATE JOBS!

(and if you do it right, you'll at least break even on the costs, giving you even MORE money to do the same thing with!!! This is better than just giving it away, which as I see it, buys poverty, and you get what you pay for)

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Re: yet another symbolic gesture

"Zuck: Do something that will help SOLVE the problem, and STOP rewarding people for their unlucky circumstance in life. There is NO virtue in poverty. So DO NOT REWARD IT! And if you want to SOLVE it, CREATE JOBS!"

Create jobs that aren't needed? That involves labor costs that raise the price of their products which in turn raise prices at the consumer end which can in turn lead to the product being undercut by someone less scrupulous, leading to the "bleeding heart" going out of business and taking all their jobs with them (Brick-and-mortar retail market isn't exactly in good shape if you'll recall). Seems you can't win.

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Linux

zuck, wake up and smell the poverty

sod the internet, sod facebook, sod google, why not buy back all the water rights that were sold by corrupt governments and just give them back to the poor,

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"Partial" == 1990's internet, didn't everyone start there?

Ok, I don't like FB -- don't have an accnt, and don't visit website, BUT, can the naysayers tell me just how Zuckerberg is going to get rich on people who make 1$/day?

Ok, so they don't get 1Gb on day 1, but my first online experience was at 1200bps.

I will say they shouldn't be artificially limited -- since some group/village could get access to a local proxy at higher speeds.

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Re: "Partial" == 1990's internet, didn't everyone start there?

"how Zuckerberg is going to get rich on people who make 1$/day?"

Let's say they get a billion people who earn a dollar a day; average discretionary spending of 1c per day would be worth $3.65bn per annum.

I could imagine some corporate advertiser might want to reach a market of that size.

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This is the 'net neutrality' folly in a nut shell, using regulation to suppress other companies' service innovation.

Sadly, even the the Reg have emotional activist-journos who defend the excessive regulation like there was no tomorrow if the market is left to (shock and horror) itself).

Left-wing activists don't get free markets, never have and never will. Their 'oughta be a law against that' reflex is exploited by crony companies and politicians alike.

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