Facebook Connectivity Begins Testing Stand-Alone App Discover in Peru

Users can view any website minus video, audio and other high-bandwidth content

Wireless carriers Bitel, Claro, Entel and Movistar are partners in the test - Credit by Facebook Connectivity
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Facebook Connectivity is testing an extension of its Free Basics initiative to provide people with free internet access with its debut of stand-alone mobile web and Android application Discover in Peru.

Wireless carriers Bitel, Claro, Entel and Movistar are partners in the test, and product manager Yoav Zeevi said in a blog post that Facebook incorporated feedback and recommendations from civil society groups and other stakeholders, including organizations like the World Wide Web Foundation.

Participating mobile operators provide a daily balance of free data, and Discover users will be notified when that data is available.

Discover can be used to browse any website, but web traffic is routed through the Discover proxy and temporarily decrypted so that video, audio and other high-bandwidth content can be removed. Users can always choose to view content of those types outside of Discover, using data that they purchase from their carriers.

Zeevi wrote, “The product does not store people’s browsing history in connection with them, and personal browsing activity is not used for other purposes, such as helping Facebook target ads or suggest new friends. You do not need to have a Facebook account to use Discover, which has a stand-alone set of terms and privacy policy. An explanation of the product’s design and privacy protections is displayed prominently before consumers can begin using Discover.”

Health resources related to the coronavirus pandemic will be highlighted on the app’s homepage.

Zeevi said Facebook Connectivity plans to roll out additional Discover trials with partner operators in other countries where it has been beta-testing product features, including Iraq, the Philippines and Thailand.


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.