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Facebook Case Study On Initiative: Serving The Bottom Of Pyramid


Consider the Facebook Case Study of “Facebook’s Initiative: Serving the Bottom of the Pyramid?” and answer the following questions:

  1. Give a brief outline of Facebook's's initiative.
  2. Discuss the impact of on emerging economies.
  3. was the initiative really about serving the bottom of the pyramid or was it more about Facebook trying to expand its reach? Analyse.


Summary of the Facebook case study
2.7 billion people are currently accessing the internet as per the reports of Facebook, which is the one-third of the total population in the world. The initiative has a clear goal for connecting the remaining 5 billion people and increasing the digital advancement followed by the accessibility to the internet but lagging behind (Alarcon 2018). As a result, the remaining people can get the same opportunities for occurring all the necessary information for increasing the plethora of internet use and reap its benefits. However global partnerships are bringing down through the initiative for overcoming the challenges in context to the knowledge economy (Giacomini 2020). The people who cannot afford the internet access currently, the initiative offers access to all the people, while these challenges are going to be sorted. Getting assistance from the several organizations initiative provided the people for data accessibility and connection in the areas, where the connection is previously not present. Partnering up with the key market players including the MediaTek, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Opera followed by some NGOs are providing mobility to the current industry for increasing the level of internet accessibility.

Bringing the entire world online providing diverse advantages including the industrial revolution, technological advancement, growth in businesses and others. initiative is ensuring that internet connectivity is highly efficient and affordable for each consumer for ensuring their overall experiences. Three key challenges are targeted by the initiative including the data usability in an efficient manner, affordability to the internet access and supporting businesses for driving the intern access. Application on the different projects also provides better accuracy and productivity by which time management can be fulfilled by the project to meet with the project objectives completely (Nothias 2020). Internet penetration boosting the emerging economies by increasing the options in India. Facebook users’ numbers are increasing in India, as it is blocked in China. The main target of Mark Zuckerberg is to increase the revenue for Facebook, which could be useful for increasing the ARPU from the Asian Region. The initiative is claimed to be the goal for Mark Zuckerberg for making the internet accessibility, who is not connected to the internet.

1. Give a brief outline of Facebook’s’s initiative
The Internet is now one of the most essential parts of a person's daily life. From surfing the internet for various contents to getting alerts for natural calamity, the internet plays a crucial role in daily life. However, still today, the internet is one of the luxuries for the rich and middle-class people, as a countless number of people who live all over the world are from below poverty level and they do not have the privilege to use the internet for any means. is an initiative organized by Facebook to provide internet facilities to those underprivileged people (Rushing 2016). The founding partners of Facebook for developing are Nokia, Ericsson, Opera Software, MediaTek, Samsung, and Qualcomm.

According to Deloitte, internet connectivity played a major role in the economic growth for the developing countries. The Internet can offer different benefits to these poverty-stricken people such as alerting about the weather reports and probable weather calamities, helping children in their study when they are not getting adequate guidance due to lack of money or reaching the voice of these people to the whole world. Facebook has planned to provide internet to the people living under the poverty level in Zambia, Philippines, Rwanda, Indonesia, Paraguay and Kenya. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook believes that connecting these people to rest of the world through the internet not only helps their daily life to get developed gradually, it is also a development of the overall economic condition of the country. It is obvious that if the economic condition of these people gets improved over time then they will contribute to the country’s economy more (Hagemeister 2017). The Free Basics by Facebook offers free internet access to basic websites like news, health, job postings, education information and communication. Other projects of are Express Wi-Fi, Connectivity Lab, and others to collect needy people with the internet through different means. Facebook claims that it successfully connected 100 million people to the internet through this great program.

2. Discuss the impact of on emerging economies
The initiative is allowing people in the emerging economies to have the accessibility to internet usability than any other sources. 4.4 billion people are not having any access to the Internet, so major efforts from a collaborative manner from the Government, society, different companies are coming up for increasing the internet accessibility. Some barriers are showcased due to the internet accessibility including the expensive internet, too expensive service plans, no connection for the mobile network, limitation in the internet value awareness and lack of support to the large data through networks. According to the, the initiative provides enhanced impacts on the economic aspects through the additional jobs in diverse regions by 65M in India, 27M in South and East Asia, 44M in Africa and finally, 5M in Latin America (Tripuraneni 2016). The annual GDP per capita is increased by $500 in India, $630 in South and East Asia, $450 in Africa and finally, $630 in Latin America. On the other hand, it has argued that the decrease in poverty is not highly impacted through the initiative as it showcased negative impacts.

The 1 billion users in India is highly useful for increasing the economic level by focusing on the revenue. However, some significant challenges are also showcased in India due to the low converge quality, lack of infrastructure, lack of human capital development and uneven wealth distribution (Sen et al. 2016). The key target of coming to India by Mark Zuckerberg is to increase the number of Facebook users and increase Facebook revenue. The mission and targets of the initiative is not accruing all the information focused on the goals of Facebook. Facebook is considered as one of the humanitarian and non-profit organizations. Clarifications from Mark Zuckerberg have come, which is defining the purpose of using the initiative and its impact on the traditional businesses (Andrew and Atlantic Monthly Press 2016). The traditional businesses are getting better agility and digital advancement by which the business can capture more growth opportunities. The controversies are raised during the statement of Mark Zuckerberg that “Connectivity is considered as the basic human right. Whereas, Bill Gates has argued that, which is more important between the malaria vaccine and connectivity of the internet.

3. Was the initiative really about serving the bottom of the pyramid or was it more about Facebook trying to expand its reach? Analyze
Facebook’s initiative of offering internet facilities through their initiative to the underprivileged people has acquired huge attention but the reaction for this initiative is mixed. It seems that is for charitable works but in reality, it is not a non-profit organization. The criticism starts here as the way the organization operates is different than what a general person thinks of it. India was a part of the initiative but in 2016, India banned from operating in the country. This incident started to create questions on the existence and real purpose of the initiative worldwide.

The reality behind the is that it is not a non-profit company or organization, it is a business development group created within Facebook aiming to increase the revenue and user base of Facebook in the first place (Gießmann 2019). This Facebook group is headed by Chris Daniels who was a business development in Facebook and Microsoft. The LinkedIn profile of this person states “Vice President, Product - at Facebook”. Business development is a concept of achieving the goals of a particular business and its functions. The main goal of the is to expand the user base of Facebook worldwide. As the criticism suggests, the main reason behind this whole initiative is to expand the customer as it is entirely a customer-acquisition initiative in the first place. However, it is undeniable that Facebook is helping underprivileged people to get internet facility free of cost (Gurumurthy and Chami 2016).

The overall concept of is clouded from that first, its gateway. People who are going to access free internet have to go through a website or application called ‘Facebook Free Basics’, not ‘’. A report published by Buzzfeed states that the people who are using this platform were already using the internet. They are opting Facebook Free Basics due to its free of cost service (Singh et al. 2017). Upon opting for this service, the carriers cut the users from the direct internet and connect them directly with the Facebook servers. The websites available in this service is very limited also. All these create huge controversy behind the actual reason behind this campaign. It can be said that the actual purpose of is not getting fulfilled, instead of the users who are already using the internet get confined to their activity within a specific Facebook’s server.

From the above study, it has been concluded that Facebook's has created a mixed reputation in the global market and the main reason behind is that the entire system is not clear to anyone. The main goal of Facebook is to connect these people with the rest of the world and utilize the power of the internet in their daily life to improve their lifestyle. It is proven that if the lifestyle and economic condition of these underprivileged people improves, it would back up the economy of that particular country. According to, several new job scopes have opened due to this initiative in countries like India; Africa, South and East Asia and Latin America regions which are great and it has indirectly helped the economy to grow in those countries. However, the main reason behind coming to Facebook to India through its initiative was to expand their customer base and increase their revenue collection which is not a charitable act to be reckoned with (Cilliers and Samarthya-Howard 2018).

Facebook markets their initiative as a charitable activity to help the needy people to get the chance of using the internet free of cost. However, the question arises when it was discovered that the actual reality and the planned goal is different. Some people have marked this step as a “corporate stunt” to support the growth of Facebook. In some cases, the initiative has acquired a huge appreciation for helping and connecting underprivileged people to the world through the internet, but in some cases, from general people to industrialists have questioned about the actual reason behind this initiative (Yim, Gomez, and Carter 2017). The subsidy offered to the user who has opted for the program does not even come from Facebook; it comes from the carriers who provide the service. The main reason behind these carriers’ participation in this program is because they all see this as one of their customer acquisition strategies. However, whatever the reason is, whether it is profitable for carriers or Facebook, many people have indeed opted for this program and get free internet which is great news.

Reference list
Alarcon, Andrea. "LEGITIMATING INTERNET. ORG THROUGH DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE." AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research (2018).

Andrew, Keen, and Atlantic Monthly Press. "The internet is not the answer." (2016).

Cilliers, Liezel, and Ambika Samarthya-Howard. "“Everyone Will Be Connected”." (2018).

Giacomini, Francesco. "Connectivity with Strings Attached: The Hidden Cost of Free Internet in African Countries. The Case of Facebook’s Free Basics." The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy 8, no. 1 (2020).

Gießmann, Sebastian. "Net Neutrality: Anatomy of a Controversy." In Infrastructuring Publics, pp. 87-111. Springer VS, Wiesbaden, 2019.

Gurumurthy, Anita, and Nandini Chami. "Internet governance as' ideology in practice'–India's' Free Basics' controversy." Internet Policy Review 5, no. 3 (2016): 1-17.

Hagemeister, Kristen. "An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg: Africa deserves more from your IT initiatives." Africa at LSE (2017).

Nothias, Toussaint. "Access granted: Facebook’s free basics in Africa." Media, Culture & Society 42, no. 3 (2020): 329-348.

Rushing, Sascha. "Analyzing “global access to the internet for all” projects”." In Network Architectures and Services, Seminars FI/IITM WS 15/16. 2016.

Sen, Rijurekha, Hasnain Ali Pirzada, Amreesh Phokeer, Zaid Ahmed Farooq, Satadal Sengupta, David Choffnes, and Krishna P. Gummadi. "On the free bridge across the digital divide: Assessing the quality of facebook's free basics service." In Proceedings of the 2016 Internet Measurement Conference, pp. 127-133. 2016.

Singh, Siddharth, Vedant Nanda, Rijurekha Sen, Sohaib Ahmad, Satadal Sengupta, Amreesh Phokeer, Zaid Ahmed Farooq et al. "An Empirical Analysis of Facebook’s Free Basics Program." (2017).

Tripuraneni, Hanuman Chowdary. "The free basics (of facebook) debate in India." info (2016).

Yim, Moonjung, Ricardo Gomez, and Michelle Carter. "Facebook's" Free Basics" and Implications for Development: IT Identity and Social Capital." In Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. 2017.


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