Facebook’s initiative to provide free internet service anywhere in the world that do not have the privilege of internet was started under the name of Internet.org. The service faced criticism in the tech scene as it was accused of violating net neutrality regimes. With so much bad will being associated with Facebook’s bold initiative, they did a complete revamp of their service.
Internet.org became Free Basics by Facebook. Around 60 new services were added to the project of Free Basics by third-party developers. Some of the most widely used and helpful apps in the Free Basics by Facebook store are ‘SmartBusiness’ for rookie entrepreneurs and ‘BabyCenter’ for pregnancy and information about parenting. Users can choose which apps they want to access in their respective regions (Asia, Africa and Latin America) and the new mobile website, called FreeBasics.com, supports HTTPS protocol, exactly like its Android app.
Where Free Basics by Facebook brings such helpful apps to users who would not generally have decent access to the internet, there are a whole range of opportunities for developers in this field. The platform is open to developers so anyone can contribute their ideas, insights, and solutions into scalable products or services.
Let’s take a look at how developers in Philippines can benefit from this.
Globe Telecom, ever-so-keen to uplift Filipinos in the country and make their standard of living infinitely better, brought the service of Free Basics by Facebook to the Philippines. They did so using their venture capital subsidiary Kickstart Ventures Inc. What this means is that they want to rally local developers to use Free Basics powered by Globe to develop and create apps and services that are centred on the needs of the Filipino people.
In a locally-hosted event, Facebook, through its Product Partnership Manager, Jackie Chang, said that they want to support local developers to create locally relevant content that will make solid impact in the lives of local people. He added that the Free Basics platform presents an outstanding opportunity for Filipino developers to help their fellow countrymen reap the benefits of the internet.
Kalibbr, one of Kickstart’s portfolio companies, that provides online job assessment and training tools, is already one of the Philippine startups to be associated with the Free Basics platform. Daniel Horan, Senior Advisor for Consumer Business Group for Globe said that the partnership between Globe and Facebook is one that looks to bring more Filipinos to the internet.
Now, this is a great opportunity for the Filipino start-ups and developers to produce content and services that focus on the needs and betterment of other Filipinos. As the Free Basics initiative looks to bring Filipinos to the internet, the situation can be exploited healthily by Filipino developers if they create services that cater to the needs of Filipinos specifically. The popularity of the services will be huge, giving them the ideal platform to expand their start-up or business. It also provides a good platform for Filipino developers to showcase their skill and usefulness to society by creating services that really make a difference.
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