Facebook has been carrying out trials with local businesses, exchanging free Wi-Fi for check-ins on the social network.
The project is called Social Wi-Fi and sees Facebook offer a small number of firms routers and free Wi-Fi if they direct their customers to log on to their Facebook page.
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From the page, customers are encouraged to “check in” to show they have visited the business in question.
A spokeswoman from Facebook said: “We are currently running a small test with a few local businesses of a router that is designed to offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook. When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’s Facebook page.”
The spokeswoman also told Computer Weekly it was only “a very local test” in the Palo Alto/Menlo Park areas of Silicon Valley. However, she would not reveal whether it planned larger scale roll-outs for the scheme and refused to comment on its success so far.
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The deal would be mutually beneficial for Facebook and the businesses involved, as not only would the company get free Wi-Fi and raise its profile, Facebook would gather valuable marketing information on its users.
Those customers without Facebook accounts are still able to access the Wi-Fi via a password held by the business owner, in the same way as many Wi-Fi hotspots currently operate.