Facebook recently unveiled a new mobile app that allows people in developing countries to access basic services over the Internet for free.
The app, which launched first in Zambia, allows users to browse a set of health, employment and local information services without data charges. These include AccuWeather, Airtel, eZeLibrary, Facebook, Facts for Life, Google Search, Go Zambia Jobs, Kokoliko, MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action), Messenger, Wikipedia, WRAPP (Women’s Rights App) and Zambia uReport.
By providing free basic services via the app, Facebook says it hopes to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise.
As the Ebola virus continues to sweep West Africa with no signs of abating, Facebook has upgraded its Internet.org app by adding additional services for its Zambian users in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease. The new services include frequently asked questions about Ebola virus, including how it can be contracted and prevented.
“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.” said Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg
The app is the first product to come out of Internet.org – a global partnership launched last year with the aim of making Internet access available to the two-thirds of the world that are not yet connected.
As well as Facebook, founding members include Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung.