Airtel Africa (which has Airtel Nigeria under its umbrella) has made it possible for Airtel customers to access their facebook account for free; and for the past seven days, I've been accessing my facebook fanpage and notification for free with free.facebook.com.
On the 10th of May, the following was posted on Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook timeline:
"Today we're partnering with Airtel Africa to launch Internet.org Free Basics in Nigeria.
There's a lot of innovation across Africa right now, and Nigeria in particular is home to a lot of talented developers.
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. Now Jobberman is one of the top 100 websites in Nigeria, and it gets 5,000 applications every day.
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.
Free Basics is now live in more than 40 countries, and half of those are in Africa. Over the next few months, we'll be doing even more to connect developers with people who can use their apps -- and partner with local companies to bring internet to people across Africa who don't have access to mobile networks.
In the meantime, I'm excited to see what Nigerians build next!"
So many people have been searching hard to understand the trick Facebook is trying to play with its newly introduced Free Basics but to be candid, the trick is simple. The so-called free-facebook access given to members is not absolutely free but a way to lure them to linger longer with Facebook than other social media network sites.
Most of the developing countries are now internet conscious to the level that their online surfing is very very high but in the last two years, Facebook viewership from these developing countries has drastically reduced due to competition from 2go, Badoo, BBM and most especially Whatsapp. The ease of social connectivity plus flexibility in terms of internet data consumption has made these networks beat Facebook hands down.
One of the means with which Facebook has devised to climb back into the wrestling ring is through this partnership with Airtel Africa; since all those social networks cannot presently be bought like Instagram. One may wonder why should it be Airtel alone but not all communication networks? Other communication networks might not be willing to agree with the unbelievable terms and conditions of the partnership. Airtel Africa has been able to win back its customers in Africa through its free-this-free-that theory.
At present, free.facebook.com only works for those accessing the internet via Airtel connection and whenever in use, images, videos, adverts that are supposed to appear alongside each post will not be visible (why? Because free.facebook.com is a special sub-domain which creates a sketched account from the original account for anyone accessing Facebook via Airtel connection); if such customer wants to have access to images, videos, then, data charges will be enabled. It shows that the free Facebook surfing is not absolutely free.