People in or from poor countries: “For better or for worse, Facebook has maneuvered itself and WhatsApp into being the only affordable international means of communication for us—so when FB went down, even just for a few hours, it had the potential to become a major problem for our communities.”

Joe American, Techville, USA: “Why didn’t you just use another free app, roflmao, kek, lol”

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FYI, I just checked. If you live here in Madagascar, use internet on your phone, and are with Telma (the largest phone/internet provider), then buying 1 gigabyte of Facebook/WhatsApp/Instagram access costs only *half* the price of buying 100 megabytes of general internet access.

@erkhyan you pay different fee to access Facebook and WhatsApp or to access the general internet? And Facebook / WhatsApp is cheapier? 😱😟😡

@botaflo On mobile internet, yes. You can either pay a lot to access the entire internet, or pay 20 times less to access only the FB-owned apps.

@erkhyan that's horrible ! It's so unfair ! I was totally unaware about such pricing policy. I'm really sorry for you. 😥

@botaflo @erkhyan It's pretty common in Turkey too, they sell discounted/unlimited subscriptions to stuff like facebook, youtube, spotify, and recently tiktok ofc. Normal data is pricy (e.g., for a few months, when I moved, I tried to only use mobile data, my bill went up 10x, and I had only used 50GB data, the difference being like $40 for 5GB which is usually enough vs. $350 for 50 [in terms of monthly economic impact, not conversion, which is more like $5 vs $35]).

@botaflo @cadadr @erkhyan

Same thing in Kenya 🇰🇪

Whatsapp comes for free when you subscribe to a Monthly data bundle with a main provider (eg. Safaricom).

So once you completely go through your data credit, you can still use Whatsapp. Same story with Youtube with some other plans too.

@cadadr @botaflo @erkhyan

Hmmmmm.

I wonder if there’s a way to
tunnel an Internet connection through Facebook? Maybe by encoding encrypted data in pictures or videos or through a fake game?

Do you know how this is possible? I'd guess FB, Google buys cell bandwidth in retail, and breaks even with income from harnessing users data.

@cadadr @botaflo @erkhyan

@mara @botaflo @erkhyan IDK if these corporations themselves are active or really involved at all here. For these carriers I thinks it's profitable to sell these plans bc they can keep you paying for other stuff that you don't really use that often, as everything is sold in packages, i.e. to get that cheap/free FB & WhatsApp you need to buy a subscription that'll include calls and SMS (usually way more than you can ever use up), because on its own it's expensive. At least that's how it is here.

@mara @cadadr @botaflo @erkhyan Could it be that FB, etc, have points of presence in the countries and pay for the under-sea fibre connections between their own data centres whereas for general internet the cell phone companies would pay for that back haul. Also FB-to-FB comms within the country wouldn't need the fibre whereas even email between different providers there likely would.

@erkhyan and here i thought that was general knowledge.

techies in the west think that tech giants have them in a vice grip.. they know nothing.

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