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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Facebook Wants to Use Drones to Expand Access Worldwide

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 3:32 PM

click to enlarge Facebook wants to make it possible for these African kids to have their own profile picture - FLICKR/ASKDZIGN
  • Flickr/askdzign
  • Facebook wants to make it possible for these African kids to have their own profile picture

There's probably no way for Facebook to be satisfied with its overall market penetration when an estimated 5 billion people in the world still lack an Internet connection.

Which means that billions of people still aren't posting status updates or "liking" your food photos on Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg, et. al., apparently found that problem so vexing that they chose a rather extreme solution: Boost the market on Earth by colonizing outer space.

According to the blosophere, Facebook is now in talks to buy Titan Aerospace, a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can circumnavigate the earth's outer hemisphere for up to five years at a time. TechCrunch prices the deal at $60 million.

The purported goal is to saturate the world with Facebook, starting with parts of rural Africa that have long bedeviled tech company executives with their apparent dearth of social media. (Also lacking in rural Africa: safe drinking

water, electricity, reliable transportation, health care, and public infrastructure.)

Facebook initially sought to fill that gap by launching, a collaboration between non-profits and tech companies that, like its immigration campaign, would use a trenchant social issue as a smokescreen for what's actually private sector lobbying.

But the world's largest social media benefit couldn't be satisfied with just an earthly partnership. After all, if Randi Zuckerberg can parlay her surname into a stint in the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, then the sky shouldn't be the limit.

Facebook has yet to answer requests for comment. In the meantime, here's a drone primer from Titan.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


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