• Facebook is testing a new app that allows for free internet browsing
  • The app will allow anyone with an internet-capable phone to browse for free
  • This is built on Free Basics

Facebook is testing a new app that will let people harness the benefits of the internet for free, even if all that they can use to browse is a basic feature phone.

Social media giant Facebook is currently testing a new app called Discover. According to a Tech@Facebook blog entry, this new app is building on its Free Basics initiative, which allowed people to browse the internet to access basic services for free.

Discover is a web and Android app that can be used to browse the internet, using a smartphone or even a basic feature phone with internet. Discover is already on trial in Peru, but will also go live in other countries such as Thailand, the Philippines and Iraq in the future.

How it works

Here's how Discover works: Participating mobile operators will provide Discover users with free data on a daily basis, and will alert users when the data is already available for use. This data can be used to browse any website. That only catch here is that these websites will not feature any image or video. Instead, they will only feature text.

Discover app
Discover app Facebook

Facebook said that when Discover users browse the internet using the supplied free data, web traffic is routed through the Discover proxy to “temporarily decrypt” it and remove any high-bandwidth content including video and audio. Users who want to browse the web to watch videos, stream music and do other high-bandwidth activity can opt to purchase mobile data.


The social media giant said Discover won't require users to have a Facebook account. What's more, the app will not store any browsing history in connection with the user. Facebook also said that people's browsing activities will not be used to target them with ads of friend suggestions.

Discover, however, will collect some information regarding the device used, the browser used, as well as other usage information. Facebook specifically said:

“Specifically, we may collect the type of device or browser and operating system you use, your app version, the time, date and type of your connection, your internet service provider and account balance information, device id, IP address, phone number, country, language setting, and the domains you access in Discover.”

Facebook claims that while participating mobile operators will give Discover users a daily data supply, they won't be paid for joining in the program or for letting people surf the web for free.