29 June 2020
Facebook is back with a new app to help users stay connected online in markets where the internet is connectivity is not up to the mark. This new app is called Discover and is currently available for testing in Peru. It has been released under the Facebook Connectivity umbrella which was also responsible for releasing Free Basics that did not work out in many countries.
Even though Facebook Discover is essentially an app, it can also be accessed via a mobile web browser. This makes it accessible even for those users who do not have a smartphone. The app basically provides users with a daily balance of free internet data through a partnership with local carriers. This data can be used for text-based internet browsing which means it cannot be used for accessing videos, audios, images, and anything that consumes data heavily.
Discover is said to be compatible with all the websites, unlike Basics which was found to be favoring certain apps/websites over others. Its functionality has been described as:
"To enable people to browse the internet using free data, we route web traffic through the Discover proxy and temporarily decrypt it to remove video, audio, and other high-bandwidth content that is not supported. To support security, we encrypt information between our servers and any device that supports HTTPS where possible — even if the service being accessed runs only over HTTP. For websites that support HTTPS, a second certificate is used for traffic encrypted between our servers and the developers."
It is reported that Discover currently offers 10MB per day to users in Peru. Since it is meant to access only low-bandwidth content, the limit should be enough for accessing numerous websites. The users will receive an alert whenever their daily free data will become available for usage. It is worth noting that it will be up to a particular carrier to decide how much free data to be provided on daily basis and Facebook has claimed that it is not paying any carrier for doing so.
Facebook has partnered with Bitel, Claro, Entel, and Movistar for providing free data balance on Discover. If anyone from Peru wants to access the service, they will need to have a valid SIM card from any of these carriers.