In recent months, Facebook’s seeming invincible hull has been badly damaged. There was the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, its role in the rumbling “fake news” debate and then, at the end of last month, the slowdown in its daily active users and the fall in its monthly active users in Europe, wiping tens of billions of dollars off its market cap.
It is obviously keen to push the positives and “control the narrative” and so has now created Facebook Connectivity as the umbrella organisation for its assorted broadband and infrastructure efforts (which began five years ago with Internet.org) to bring the internet to the 4bn people in the world who still do not have access to it.
CNet reports, “The Connectivity group houses projects including Terragraph, which aims to connect high-density urban areas; OpenCellular, an open-source platform working on rural connectivity; and the Telecom Infra Project, a joint initiative with the wireless industry for creating faster networks.”
These are noble ambitions but the cynical will regard the timing of all this as a massive deflection strategy to stop people looking over THERE (at the bad and democratically damaging stuff) and instead look over HERE (at the fluffy and altruistic stuff).
The extra-cynical will also see it as stealth effort to grow its user base. If it is effectively reaching saturation point in the developed world, the only way to keep that growth curve growing is to get the rest of the world online (trans: get them on Facebook).