Facebook Brings Workers' Internet to a Crawl One Day a Week

'2G Tuesdays' allow workers to experience slow speeds of emerging markets
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2015 10:39 AM CDT
Facebook Brings Workers' Internet to a Crawl One Day a Week
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asks a question during the CEO Summit of the Americas panel discussion in Panama City, Panama, April 10, 2015.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Understanding breeds empathy. At least, that's the Facebook philosophy when it comes to Internet speed in developing nations, which is why once a week the company now encourages employees to dump their super-fast speeds at work and opt for a 2G experience, NBC News reports. The initiative is called "2G Tuesdays," and while it's voluntary and only lasts an hour, the company is hoping it will open workers' eyes to what people in places like India and Africa deal with when trying to log on. "We hope this will help us understand how people with 2G connectivity use our product, so we can address issues and pain points in future builds," product manager Chris Marra writes in a blog post. "Giving employees a seamless way to empathize with the people using Facebook … brings us a step closer to helping everyone use our product in a quick and seamless way."

Just how slow is 2G? Popular Mechanics explains the fastest 2G service hovers at around 1 megabit per second, while 3G offers 6Mbps and smartphones using 4G can handle around 15Mbps (the average US Internet speed is around 11Mbps). "On the lower end of 2G networks, it can take about two minutes to download a Web page," a Facebook rep says, per the Wall Street Journal. Tom Allison, Facebook's engineering director, tells Business Insider his first time dabbling in 2G "definitely tested my patience. It felt like parts of the product were just broken." It makes sense for Facebook to focus on these regions: More than four-fifths of its users reside outside the US and Canada, the company says via the Journal. It's already been upping its mobile game in those places, including streamlining picture and story loading during slow connections, per a Facebook release. (Under a new policy, Facebook will let you know if a nation-state hacks you.)

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