Facebook to offer free Wi-Fi in exchange for your location

By on June 20, 2013, 8:30 AM
facebook, cisco, wi-fi, foursquare, check in

It’s no mystery that Facebook wants to gather as much data as possible about its users; something that they do rather effectively, judging by the all-too-relevant advertisements that are plastered across my newsfeed. Nevertheless, Zuckerberg and his colleagues are taking it one step further – they plan to offer free Wi-Fi in exchange for knowing your exact whereabouts.

According to Wired, the project started off as a small experiment by two Facebook engineers during a hackathon held at company’s Seattle office. The idea was then relayed to top executives, where a small team was setup at the Menlo Park headquarters to bring the concept to fruition.

Facebook plans to place specialized routers in high-traffic businesses and cafes. Users who wish to access the free internet service must “check-in” at the venue using their Facebook account. Facebook knows that a market exists for this kind of social media, and they are eager to capitalize on it; after all, rival Foursquare has built their entire business around this very model.

Back in November, Facebook told Wired that “a small test with a few local businesses” would be conducted around the Menlo Park region. In the past few months, the free Wi-Fi initiative or "Facebook Wi-Fi," as they are calling it, has found its way into San Francisco via the Philz Coffee chain,  and the company has also struck a deal with Cisco to incorporate this optional feature into their Meraki line of routers. Reports now suggest that Facebook has entered discussions with other router manufacturers as well.

It is currently unknown how the project will progress from here, but it is somewhat comforting to know that unwanted data collection might eventually come with a silver lining; and in this case, free internet is the consolation prize. The big question, however, remains: will consumers embrace or condemn companies that openly trade services for personal information?




User Comments: 13

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1 person liked this | Guest said:

Ah, I'm sure the NSA will appreciate this service very much indeed.

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

I believe this comes with a generic 5-step provision...

Guest said:

All I read is like this: "NSA to offer free wi-fi in exchange for your location"

MilwaukeeMike said:

All I read is like this: "NSA to offer free wi-fi in exchange for your location"

I thought the NSA already knew where we all where, what do they need facebook's help for? Facebook just wants to show you ads for nearby stores.. it might work out to your favor... check in at the coffee shop, maybe you'll get a coupon too.

If you're that scared about being tracked, put on a fake mustache and leave your phone at home.

JC713 JC713 said:

This is screwed up in so many ways.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

We are getting one step closer to this

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I guess FB doesn't get much help from me, they sent me a SMS about 2 months ago reminding me I hadn't checked in in the past three months and I still haven't checked in yet. Oh well if they close my account, it's no biggie, I don't use it anyway.

Geforcepat Geforcepat said:

I guess FB doesn't get much help from me, they sent me a SMS about 2 months ago reminding me I hadn't checked in in the past three months and I still haven't checked in yet. Oh well if they close my account, it's no biggie, I don't use it anyway.

Good boy

Guest said:

I signed on to Facebook once in 2007, and singed out 20 minutes later, and never been back.

Guest said:

What advertisements in the news feed? Don't you know about adblockplus?

Anyways I only use fb to know if everyone that I have ties there is still alive.

Guest said:

What would facebook offer me in exchange for giving them a picture of my naked ass ?

Access to their face recognition algorithm ?

kuroiei kuroiei said:

Do they provide free Wi-Fi in Pakistan?

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Provide this in the Philippines please hehe

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