Facebook launches mobile site free of data charges

Thanks to special deals with more than 50 mobile carriers across 45 different countries and regions, accessing the social network won't rack up data charges.

Facebook's new mobile site, dubbed 0.facebook.com, is promising quick and data-charge-free access, though it's only accessible through certain mobile carriers.

The popular social-networking site already offers a mobile site designed to display on smartphones and other portable gadgets. But the new 0.facebook.com is being targeted toward mobile users in specific countries who normally face data charges from their carriers when they hop online. Thanks to special deals with more than 50 mobile carriers across 45 different countries and regions, accessing 0.facebook.com won't rack up any data charges.

The new site is designed to be faster than both Facebook's core Web site and its traditional mobile site, but still offer the same features, according to the company's blog. Users can view content, update their status, and keep in touch with their Facebook friends.

But the new mobile site won't display photos by default. Users will have to click on a link to view any photo, and that's where the free ride ends. Viewing a photo turns the data charges back on, as does clicking on a link to a third-party Web site. But a confirmation message will pop up notifying users that they may be charged if they leave 0.facebook.com.

Facebook's new mobile site Facebook

The new mobile site will be available only in select places, including Brazil, Denmark, Greece, Hong Kong, India, and Turkey, and only through certain mobile carriers. But Facebook is promising that it will soon debut in other countries and with more carriers, including mobile operators in France and the U.K.

Mobile users outside of the supported countries and carriers can still access the Facebook through its standard mobile site or its site for touch-screen devices, though of course, data charges would still apply when going through a mobile carrier.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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