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After being criticised over net neutrality, Facebook is now all set to be in the news for favouring Android phones over iPhones. The social networking giant has started insisting that employees use Android phones.
According to a report by Wired, chief product officer Chris Cox has started giving strict instructions to Facebook employees to use Android phones. "I am mandating a switch of a whole bunch of my team over to Android, just because people, when left up to their own devices, will often prefer an iPhone," Cox reportedly told reporters at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.
The new development does not mean that Facebook is promoting Google's Android or discouraging employees from using Apple's iPhone. However, it certainly shows the company's "practical decision" to expand its user base in emerging markets, where a large number of mobile phone users have already switched over to Android. Cox reveals that he wants to make his team switch to Android "so that they can be reporting bugs and living in the same experience that most Facebook users experience today".
China and India markets
It is yet to be revealed whether the entire workforce at Facebook is being forced to use Android phones. This shows that the company led by Mark Zuckerberg does not want to lose its market in emerging markets like India and China. Android is undoubtedly the leading mobile phone platform in today's world with over 1.4 billion active users worldwide, but Apple's iOS also has a favourable number of users to counter Google's open-source platform.
A Facebook employee, who did not want to be named, told IBTimes UK that the new instructions have already been circulated to Facebook employees in the US. Facebook has over 1.49 billion monthly active users all over the globe, but when it comes to emerging markets, the social network is yet to be used by many people. India alone has a population of over 1.25 billion but there are just about 130 million Facebook users. Zuckerberg at a recent Town Hall Q&A session in New Delhi explained the potential to grow in the country. "[O]ur mission is to give everyone in the world the power to share what's important with them and to connect every person in the world," he said.
"And India is the world's largest democracy; it's one of the biggest countries, where if you really have a mission of connecting every person in the world, you can't do that without helping to connect everyone in India."
In June, Facebook Lite was launched for entry-level Android smartphones that have inferior hardware and slower data connection compared to 3G and LTE. The company also recently brought '2G Tuesdays' programme to make employees switch to a low-speed connections on each Tuesday in order to test its site connectivity.
Zuckerberg brought Internet.org initiative to India earlier this year to offer free access to select sites to Indian users. The initiative had been criticised by netizens in the country, and was later transformed into Free Basics to address some issues.