Network Coverage

In emerging markets, like India, mobile data connections are slow and unreliable

64 kbps

20 sec

per newsfeed download

20,000 kbps

0.6 sec

per newsfeed download

100,000 kbps

0.012 sec

per newsfeed download

newsfeed Overlap in Emerging Markets

There exists a significant overlap between the newsfeeds of people living in emerging markets

From a study our team conducted of a high school network in India, if an Indian user were to connect with 10 randomly selected peers, they could expect to reduce their newsfeed data consumption by 24%. These results confirm that this potential reduction in data consumption would make a significant difference to Facebook Android users. Download the raw data from the study here.

Offline Connectivity

Assuming people can share overlapping posts through a peer-to-peer network, a user could obtain their Facebook news feed offline.

Installation of the application without Internet

Indian markets are filled with shops which provide USB sticks full of software and media for people to purchase. Some of these shops even have subscription models so that people without Internet can stay up to date with new content. Users can go to these physical hotspot shops and download latest android or iPhone applications as they desire. Collaboration with existing hotspots or simply opening a chain of Facebook hotspot shops can incentive people to go back for updates.

Facebook could potentially patch the app via a peer to peer connection as well. If the peer the phone connects to has a later version of the app, it could provide an APK or a code patch to a phone with an older version.

Alternatively, the app could contain a failsafe switch that could deactivate Facebook on the vulnerable phone until the app updates. A peer could activate another peer’s failsafe switch, or the failsafe could activate automatically after a certain amount of time.

Interaction without Internet

In the physical vicinity of an offline user, many Facebook users exist who have access to Internet. So, an offline user can simply leverage one of the many Internet enabled phones surrounding it in two possible ways:

  • The offline user's phone can use neighboring phones as a simple router to get data.
  • The offline user's phone can request only public content and mutual friends posts from neighboring. This is shown by our demo application.
  • Effect on the overall network with many offline nodes

    Routing through people with Internet can lead to an unbiased increase in certain users' mobile data. There can be two possible solutions to this:

  • Online users get to choose to allow routing via p2p connections
  • Online users only allow routing if their phones are connected to WiFi.