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Facebook launches “Free Basics” app for emerging markets

by Jacob Kleinman | September 25, 2015September 25, 2015 3:00 pm PST

It’s been over a year since Facebook first launched the app, bringing free Internet and a select list of services to developing countries. The app has improved a lot since then, and now it’s getting even better.

According to Facebook, the service is now available to more than a billion people across Asia, Africa and Latin America. The app works in 19 different countries and includes over 60 different services. That includes everything from news and search to more detailed information on health, economics and education.

Facebook was actually forced to open up its platform to developers after running into early issues with net neutrality laws. The company points to a few exciting new services it offers as a result, including Smart Business for launching a new business. There’s also BabyCenter and MAMA, which both offer health information for pregnant woman and parents.

Finally, Facebook is relaunching the entire service as “Free Basics” to distinguish itself from the rest of That means a redesigned app that lets you scroll through a list of everything available. Users can also search for specific apps and add them to their phones. The app is available now through Google Play and online.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...