Facebook launches trial of Discover app that offers free browsing with daily data balance

The Facebook's Discover app supports only low-bandwidth traffic when using free data.

Facebook has announced the trial of a new application called Discover that will allow people to browse any website using a daily balance of free data from participating mobile operators. The application has been built on Facebook's ‘Free Basics’.

‘Free Basics’ is an initiative that offers access to rudimentary online services without data charges.

Facebook’s Product Manager Yoav Zeevi elaborated on the same saying that they have paid heed to feedback and recommendations from civil society groups and stakeholder including the World Wide Web Foundation in developing the app.

Representational Image.

Representational Image.

“We developed Discover to address and incorporate those recommendations into a new product that supports connectivity,” Zeevi added.

Facebook said Discover treats all websites equally. The app supports only low-bandwidth traffic when using free data. However, it doesn’t support video, audio and other types of data-intensive traffic when the free data is being used.

The social media giant has clarified that mobile operators are not paid for providing free data for Discover.

Facebook is conducting the trial in Peru and plans to roll out the same in other countries including Thailand, the Philippines, and Iraq.

How Facebook Discover works

Facebook said that the Discover app will be available as an Android app and on the mobile web. Users will be notified about the balance of free data each day from their participating mobile operator.

Beta users can access the Discover by visiting 0.discoverapp.com on any mobile web browser.

Facebook said that Discover does not store the browsing history of the users and personal browsing activity is not used for any other purposes such as helping Facebook target ads or suggest new friends.

To support security, it encrypts information between servers and any device that supports HTTPS, where possible.

To let users browse the internet using free data, Facebook says it "routes web traffic through the Discover proxy and temporarily decrypts it to remove video, audio, and other high-bandwidth content that is not supported.”


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