Dec 1, 2018 - Technology

The high price of free Facebook in the Philippines

Illustration of Facebook logo dissolving

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Efforts to widen internet access around the world can bring benefits and unexpected risks. In the Philippines, the price was heavy.

Why it matters: Connecting the world doesn't always turn out harmoniously.

The details: Facebook Basics is an app and mobile site that provides free access to a tightly curated set of web content and, naturally, Facebook itself.

  • Facebook promotes Free Basics as a bridge to the wider internet for consumers in developing nations.
  • But in practice the subsidized content can simply become the internet. That's what happened in the Philippines.

That particular kind of internet provided president Rodrigo Duterte with the perfect environment to wage a war of misinformation against his enemies and on behalf of his brutal drug war.

Worthy of your time: How Duterte Used Facebook To Fuel the Philippine Drug War (Buzzfeed News)

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