Facebook might not be great pals with Brazil, given it played a part in the PRISM program used by the National Security Agency against US citizens to spy on their social activities, but the two have found common ground on offering internet access in the country.
The internet access will be provided through Facebook’s Internet.org service, which has already seen success in places like Colombia and Vietnam. This is the largest mobile market Facebook has attached itself to thus far, with 83 million users.
"The President and I both believe that everyone should share in the social and economic benefits of connectivity," Zuckerberg said on a Facebook post. "We talked about the opportunities for technology to bring diverse communities closer and also to improve education.”
Facebook will set up shop in Sao Paulo’s Heliopolis district, one of the largest slums in the country. Over 200,000 people reside in Heliopolis, lots of them do not have an easy way to access the internet.
Even though Internet.org is a limiting service that only offers a few “key” services on its plan, the goal is to get new people on the internet. These people might some day view ads and be relevant customers on the internet, making them worth the early gamble.
Facebook’s intentions are clear: get more users on the internet, have more people on the social network. It’s a win-win for both the social network and the user, possibly incapable of paying for internet at the current time.
Facebook will launch the service later this year, featuring a range of sites both internationally and locally recognised.