Free Basics

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What is the name of the tool?
Free Basics
Tool Class
To what "family" does the tool belong? Pick as many categories as are appropriate. EG: Data Collection, Security, etc. The wiki will automatically create a link to the relevant tool class.
Internet Access
Who made the tool? Sometimes the tool name and the developer name are the same, and sometimes, they are different.
Date Created
What was the date when the tool was first launched?
Still Maintained?
Do the developers of the tool continue to work on it, adding features and fixing problems?
Open Source?
Is the tool's source code original source code freely available and may it be redistributed and modified? (This makes it possible for users to employ the tool for free, with some technical effort.)
Pick the platforms on which the user would primarily use the tool. Be as selective as possible. If a tool works mainly in the browser, select "Web". If the user can technically load the interface on a smartphone but have a very poor experience, do not select "Android" or "iOS". "Mac" and "PC" are for apps that must be installed to a machine in order to run, as opposed to running from a browser.
iOS, Android
What is the main website where a user can learn more about the tool? (Remember to include "http://)."
Payment Structure
How, if at all, does a user pay to use the tool. Select all that apply: "Free" if there are components of a service that can be used for free; "Paid" if payment is required (either one-time, or at a given rate upon use) for use of the tool's full functionality; "subscription" if a monthly payment is required.
Languages Supported
What languages does the app's interface support? Note: some apps allow users to communicate in other languages but require the user to use an English language interface. In this case, the app is considered only to support "English".
Arabic, Bengali, English, Filipino, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Panjabi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu
Skill Level Needed
  • Beginner - The tool has a simple interface that assists the user, either through automatic processes or simple guides, in working with the tool. The user is able to do most things that they need to do without knowledge of advanced concepts, like code.
  • Intermediate - The tool allows the user to perform many tasks without knowledge of advanced concepts, but about an equal amount of functionality requires advanced knowledge. Some training may be required to use the tool.
  • Advanced - The tool requires advanced knowledge or training in order to use most of its functionality.

Tool Description

Free Basics is an internet access platform that provides free access for mobile phone users to a list of services. The platform was created by, a partnership between Facebook and a variety of other companies Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm. Users and organizations operating in the countries where Free Basics is available can apply to have their website listed on the service, as long as their application meets participation guidelines.

The Platform is not to be confused with Facebook Zero, an initiative undertaken by Facebook in partnership with mobile telecom companies to provide free access to a text-only version of the social network.


An example of the Free Basics interface

Websites submitted to Free Basics must meet certain criteria to be accepted. These include:

  • Websites must be optimized for feature phones, which have small screens, low processing power, and sometimes no touch screen
  • They can not rely on Javascript, since feature phones tend not to support the language.
  • They must be formatted for mobile devices. Free Basics is only available for mobile phones.
  • They must be efficient in how much data they consume. Services should not use VoIP, video, file transfer, or photos larger than 200 KB.

Free Basics provides an opportunity for peacebuilders seeking communicate with low-connectivity audiences who don't have reliable access to the Internet, as long as their content is presented to meet's specifications.

What Makes This Tool Different from Others in its Class?

Free Basics one among a number of initiatives to provide internet access to more people across the planet. It differs from other Internet Access initiatives in means by which the Internet is accessed. Free Basics undertaken in co-operation with telecom companies, in an arrangement by which telecoms allow mobile devices free access to data that ordinarily they would need to pay for. Other methods projects include's other initiative, Connectivity Lab, which uses high-altitude gliders to relay Internet access, Google's Project Loon, which uses a network of high-altitude balloons in a similar process, and various free wifi initiatives.

Links to Tutorial Content

Projects that use this tool

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