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Policy Brief

Connectivity with Strings Attached: The Hidden Cost of Free Internet in African Countries. The Case of Facebook’s Free Basics

Author:

Francesco Maria Giacomini

GB
About Francesco

MSc in Political Economy of Late Development,
Class of 2018,
London School of Economics and Political Science

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Abstract

This paper focuses on Free Basics, a Facebook-
developed mobile app that provides “free” Internet accessto many African countries. However, this humanitarian initiative came at a hidden cost: lack of data protection for its users. This paper debunks Facebook’s win-win narrative arguing that the type of internet connection African users are connected to, and who gains from it, also matters.

How to Cite: Giacomini, F.M., 2020. 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(1).
Published on 20 Mar 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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