On Monday, Facebook announced that it has almost 100 million users in Africa - 80% of whom accessed the site via mobile. And with the total amount of Internet users in Africa sitting at 200 million, this means that Facebook has managed to entice half of them into its addictive network, and the world is becoming more connected than ever before.
After a trip to Africa earlier this year, Facebook engineers realised that not only was the app loading extremely slow, but there were constant crashes due to a lack of memory on the devices, and after spending the next six months sorting it out, it seems their hard work has paid off. Monthly data plans were eradicated, and the app’s download size was reduced by 65%, as well as start times by 50%.
The figures follow Internet.org’s debut in Zambia (Facebook’s telecom partnership that plans to bring Internet to the 5 billion people still disconnected), which provides locals with free and basic online services like health, employment, Wikipedia, weather and women’s rights information. When internet.org was launched in 2013 Zuckerberg announced that “everything [that] Facebook has done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect”, and that the initiative plans to breaking down the barriers that hold back developing countries. “There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it”. And the numbers show that it seems to be working.
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