2G Tuesdays: Facebook Wants Employees to Feel the Pain of Slow Internet

The initiative is part of Facebook's strategy to attract more users in developing countries.

Facebook Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California September 27, 2015.Stephen Lam/Reuters

If you've ever lost patience with loading times on your 4G smartphone, spare a thought for the millions of internet users in places like India, where the average connection speed is almost six times slower than in the U.K, or, for that matter, employees of Facebook, who will now feel their pain.

With the aim of putting its Silicon Valley employees in the shoes of many of its users, Facebook has instituted 2G Tuesdays—an initiative whereby Facebook employees can opt-in to a slower internet connection for an hour once a week, Business Insider reports.

Facebook's engineering director Tom Alison told Business Insider that the point of 2G Tuesdays was to open developers' eyes to the internet experience of many of their users and to stimulate ideas for streamlining the social network. "They're going to see the places that we need to improve our product, but they're also going to see the places where we have made a lot of progress," said Alison.

Facebook is focusing its efforts on attracting more users in emerging economies. The social network's founder Mark Zuckerberg wants to make free internet access available to everyone in the world via the Internet.org project and recently welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Facebook's California headquarters in September for a question-and-answer session. Modi said he wanted to bring internet access to the one billion Indians who remain unconnected. Zuckerberg also held another Q&A with Indian students at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi on Wednesday.

Earlier in October, Facebook announced a series of changes to its service aimed at improving the network's performance on 2G networks. These included slimming down the News Feed to show fewer videos and less data-heavy content when on a 2G network by using open-source software to classify users on the basis of internet speed.

According to Statista, India was Facebook's second-largest market for users in 2014, behind the U.S. Facebook does not rank countries by user numbers, but Zuckerberg said at the Delhi Q&A that 130 million Indians use the social network.

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