Facebook will give employees super slow Internet speeds every Tuesday to better understand markets like India

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Mark Zuckerberg Gets Inspired During Visit to Taj Mahal


Facebook is launching a new initiative called "2G Tuesdays" that will give all employees an opportunity to see what using the app with an incredibly slow connection feels like and help close the "empathy gap" between Silicon Valley and emerging markets.

For most people, the stark differences will likely be jarring.

Engineering director Tom Alison remembers the first time he opened Facebook on a phone with a 2G connection.

"I felt like, 'Whoa!'" Alison tells Business Insider. "It definitely tested my patience — it felt like parts of the product were just broken."

RELATED GALLERY: Look inside Facebook's data centers where all you information is stored

16 PHOTOS
Inside Facebook Data Centers
See Gallery
Facebook will give employees super slow Internet speeds every Tuesday to better understand markets like India
Joel Kjellgren, Data Center Manager walks in one of the server rooms at the new Facebook Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Lulea, in Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Signage stands outside the Facebook Inc. Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, April 28, 2014. The Facebook Prineville Data Center features leading energy-efficient technology, including features such as rainwater reclamation, a solar energy installation for providing electricity to the office areas and reuse of heat created by the servers to heat office space. Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Facebook Inc. flag flies next to a U.S. flag outside the company's Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, April 28, 2014. The Facebook Prineville Data Center features leading energy-efficient technology, including features such as rainwater reclamation, a solar energy installation for providing electricity to the office areas and reuse of heat created by the servers to heat office space. Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Signage made up of individual faces is displayed inside the Facebook Inc. Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, April 28, 2014. The Facebook Prineville Data Center features leading energy-efficient technology, including features such as rainwater reclamation, a solar energy installation for providing electricity to the office areas and reuse of heat created by the servers to heat office space. Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The silhouette of an employee is seen standing in front of a cooling system that pulls air in from outside at the Facebook Inc. Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, April 28, 2014. The Facebook Prineville Data Center features leading energy-efficient technology, including features such as rainwater reclamation, a solar energy installation for providing electricity to the office areas and reuse of heat created by the servers to heat office space. Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee puts in a filter that protects against pollen, bugs, and dust from the outside air that is pulled in at the Facebook Inc. Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, April 28, 2014. The Facebook Prineville Data Center features leading energy-efficient technology, including features such as rainwater reclamation, a solar energy installation for providing electricity to the office areas and reuse of heat created by the servers to heat office space. Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee fixes part of a web server inside the Facebook Inc. Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, April 28, 2014. The Facebook Prineville Data Center features leading energy-efficient technology, including features such as rainwater reclamation, a solar energy installation for providing electricity to the office areas and reuse of heat created by the servers to heat office space. Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Joel Kjellgren, Data Center Manager opens a server in one of server rooms at the new Facebook Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Lulea, in Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken with a fisheye lens shows a man walks past a big logo created from pictures of Facebook users worldwide in the company's Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Lulea, in Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of servers are pictured at the new Facebook Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Lulea, in Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken with a fisheye lens shows the Evaporator Room of the first server rooms in the new Facebook Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Lulea, in Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
The Relief Room of the first server rooms is pictured in the new Facebook Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Lulea, in Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Employees work at the new Facebook Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Lulea, in Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Signage is reflected in a window at the Facebook Inc. Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, April 28, 2014. The Facebook Prineville Data Center features leading energy-efficient technology, including features such as rainwater reclamation, a solar energy installation for providing electricity to the office areas and reuse of heat created by the servers to heat office space. Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Joel Kjellgren, Data Center Manager shows a server in one of server rooms at the new Facebook Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Luleaa, Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Although most people with smartphones in the US use faster 3G or even 4G connections, millions of people all over the world are coming online for the first time with 2G. With that kind of connection, a webpage can take over 2 minutes to load

That's why Alison and his team of emerging markets engineers have spent so much time reworking Facebook's News Feed to optimize it for super-slow network speeds. As part of their job, they regularly use phones that simulate 2G and actually take trips to places like India and Kenya to get a better understanding of how people there use the product.

2GFacebookBut because not all employees get to go on international trips, Facebook is instituting "2G Tuesdays."

When a Facebook employee logs on any Tuesday morning, they'll see a prompt at the top of their News Feed asking whether they want to try out the slower connection for an hour.

"For that next hour, their experience on Facebook will be very much like the experience that millions of people around the world have on Facebook on a 2G connection," Alison says. "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."

Earlier this month, Facebook highlighted some of the updates and improvements that it's made for the app in emerging markets. For example, Facebook developed an open-sourced Network Connection Class system that lets its app figure out a user's connection speed on the fly. It will then show different News Feed stories, depending (for example, favoring status updates and links versus videos and photos on a super-slow connection), and prioritize loading things that the user is looking at versus partially loading a dozen pieces of content at once.

"You really experience your own Facebook in a much different way on 2G," Alison says. "It's really a visceral feeling when you see your own content on this type of connection."

He anticipates that many employees will opt into 2G Tuesdays (2G Monday's just didn't sound nearly as catchy, he jokes), both to get a better understanding of what the internet feels like for people in different parts of the world, and to help report issues and make suggestions that his team might not have thought of.

NOW WATCH: China's fake Apple stores look so real, some employees don't even know they're fake

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Google Ventures chief: If tech only serves 'rich white people in Silicon Valley, then we've failed'

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners