Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) may have promised free internet connectivity for all through its effort called “Internet.org”. But nothing is free in this digital age, even if it is an offering from the “Internet.org”.
The company is running its internet initiative in Africa, Latin America and South Asia. A few selected sites are free, however for other sites the users have to pay. It is unclear how the company aims to provide free internet when it charges for websites other than those included in the packages. Most of the services are accessible through Facebook apps.
The people to whom this services are intended will end up using Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) products. Though they will not be required to pay money for it, the company will utilize their data. So it is a simple ‘user data in exchange for internet connectivity” deal.
Hal Varian, Chief Economist of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has a broader perspective on this. According to him, the next generation will be of digital assistance and the privacy concerns that are voiced today will become a thing of the past. The public, in general, will depend more and more on digital assistance. The everyday apps we use will be able to analyze our data and help us in real time. But for this to happen, the companies need one important thing; your data.
The internet companies are using numerous strategies to get their hands on user data. This data can be cashed easily and used almost always for advertising purpose.
Varian believes that the technological advancement follows a top to bottom flow; rich people get the technology first, middle class people use the same technology after five years and poor people take 10 years to avail the technology. With this observation, one can easily argue that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) wants to gather as much user data as it can by offering the so called free internet service.
The company has cleverly traded money for data. However, the company has still to register any significant growth in this field.