Facebook has announced plans to launch its non-profit Internet.org app in Kenya later this week, following previous releases in Tanzania and Zambia.
The announcement was made at AfricaCom in Cape Town, with Internet.org vice president Chris Daniels speaking about the importance of offering free internet services to other parts of the world.
The app was initially revealed by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in August. His ambition is to give internet access to the remaining two-thirds of the world’s population who remain unconnected.
In a recent speech, Zuckerberg said the main objective of Internet.org is giving the world access to “new jobs, opportunity and ideas”.
Getting the world on the web
Internet.org is a partnership between global technology leaders, experts, non-profits, and local communities, providing access to a selection of useful education, health, employment and finance services, all free of charge.
Zuckerberg has called connectivity a “basic human right”, yet the cost of data is one of the major obstacles stopping emerging nations from getting on the web. The partners involved in Internet.org want to make the internet available to every person on earth.
Google Search app removed
Google Search was available during the launch in Zambia, whilst it has been removed in both Tanzania and Kenya. It remains to be seen whether the removal of Google Search from the selection of supported services is a tactical move, as Google already has its own Project Loon which uses hot air balloons to deliver connectivity.
80% of the African population is still without an internet connection, and there are clear benefits for Facebook in providing them with connectivity. They will surely be interested in adding to the 100 million Africans who are already members of the social network, creating more loyal followers.