Facebook Free Internet
Facebook’s free internet approaches in Africa are ostensibly charitable, but they are also likely to be a way for the company to restructure itself as most Facebook users log in and out in different places.
In the global south, there is a greater consciousness that Facebook’s entreaties may have malevolent consequences.
Free Basics was completely banned in India in 2016 after a public uproar that the initiative breached net neutrality regulations, which state that internet service providers must enable all content and applications.
Facebook’s actions, according to Global Voices, resulted in”digital colonialism,” in which the firm “builds this little web that changes the user into a rather passive audience of mostly contemporary enterprise content.”
Consumers are not always passive in their behaviour. The concentration of Facebook users in some African nations has had some positive effects in terms of enabling free speech and civic activism in countries where oppressive regimes control the public sphere.
“There is no doubt in my mind,” Nyabola says, “that social networks have been useful for political debate and organising in countries where free speech is prohibited.”
The army cut off internet services in Sudan after a military coup last October, but some users found ways to livestream protests on Facebook.
Because of the platform’s lack of moderation, armed militias and authoritarian regimes use it for their own propaganda purposes, not to acknowledge the clickbaiting and abusive comments that occur everywhere else.
In October of last year, CNN reported that Facebook was aware that it was being used to instigate violence in Ethiopia but did nothing about it.
According to Nyabola, there has also been a “failure to engage in language, in understanding the cultural context.” “In 2015, Facebook opened an office in Africa.”
In the year 2019, the first Amharic-speaking content moderators were hired. The fact that less than 100 people work on content moderation in Ethiopia is not insignificant.” And Amharic is just one of Ethiopia’s more than 80 languages.
While Facebook remains largely unregulated in Africa, its benefits to the downtrodden will be overshadowed by those who are noisier and more influential.
In the meantime, Facebook is unavoidable for both small businesses and users. As calls for legislation gets stronger and cloud the company’s prospects in the west, it may be fighting for its life.
However, Facebook’s economic, political, and social clout in Africa and other parts of the global south almost assures it a second life.
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