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Facebook to Offer Free Wi-Fi Program In Exchange for Check-ins

Facebook continues its quest to be people’s number one source for everything as it begins to roll out free Wi-Fi services with its new partnership with Cisco. The Wi-Fi would be free as long as users check-in at businesses.

The program would benefit both businesses and Facebook, reports The Atlantic Wire. Facebook would receive more data on the businesses its users visit while the merchants get a better sense as to who visits their establishments.

A pilot program last with San Francisco businesses found that businesses tripled their daily check-in numbers by using the system, Information Week reports. Now, Facebook and Cisco will be working with 1,000 businesses across 50 countries with the new Wi-Fi program.

The idea is to provide free Wi-Fi for Facebook users who login and check-in at small businesses and even international airports, according to AdAge.

The service would allow merchants to use Facebook analytics to determine the age range, gender and other demographics to target ads to their audience.

Before going any further, “Facebook Wi-Fi” users can relax: the company says they won’t track users’ browsing activity on their networks, and that users will be able to keep check-ins private or share them with a limited audience.

“The design of the product is specifically architected in a way such that as soon as the user checks in on Facebook, through Facebook Wi-Fi, Facebook then hands the user back to the router and completely steps out of the picture,” Facebook’s project lead on the program Erick Tseng told CNET.

So far brands named by Facebook and Cisco that would offer this Wi-Fi system are Philz Coffee, MGM Grand Casinos and Bonefish Grill.

Tseng said among those who are interested in using the Wi-Fi service are retailers, conference centers, amusement parks, and even churches.

Sources: The Atlantic Wire, AdAge, CNET, Information Week

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