Free Basics is Facebook’s answer to the problem of Internet access for people in emerging markets.
Through the free service, Facebook provides people with access to useful services on their mobile phones in markets where Internet access may be less affordable.
The websites are available for free without data charges, and include content on things like news, employment, health, education and local information.
Free Basics will offer Nigerians, especially those that are currently offline (that’s about 90 million according to Facebook), 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.
“In 2009, Olalekan Elude, Ayodeji Adewunmi and Opeyemi Awoyemi started a site called Jobberman in their dorm to help connect people looking for work with companies looking to hire,” Mark Zuckerburg said on his Facebook page.
He added, “Now Jobberman is one of the top 100 websites in Nigeria, and it gets 5,000 applications every day.”
Over the next few months, Facebook will be partnering with Nigerian companies like Jobberman so people can use their apps on Free Basics and with local companies that can bring Internet to those who don’t have it.
With the launch in Nigeria, Free Basics is now live in more than 40 countries, and half of those are in Africa. More African countries will have the free service in the coming months.
By introducing Free Basics in Nigeria, Facebook hopes to bring more people online and help improve their lives.