Facebook Testing Free Wi-Fi After Users Check In To Businesses

Looking for an attractive incentive to coax Facebook users to check in to your business? How does free Wi-Fi sound?

Developer Tom Waddington — the very same Tom Waddington who discovered Facebook’s test of an upcoming concerts module, its potential introduction of promoted messages, its exploration of social commerce, and its initial testing of the want button — once again unearthed the social network’s test of a potential new feature, which Facebook confirmed to sister blog Inside Facebook.

Waddington wrote in a post on his blog:

In the code used to build the graphs and charts for page insights, there’s a list of all of the possible sources for new likes. Adverts, like buttons, like boxes, search results, and the pages wizard top the list.

However, there’s a new entry — social_wifi. It’s (so far) the only reference I can find for it, so it’s tough to work out exactly how the feature might work.

The explanation for the graph tool tip currently reads, “People who liked your page after checking in via Facebook Wi-Fi.”

I’d suggest that page owners of local businesses would be able to associate their public Wi-Fi hotspots with their Facebook pages. Then, a callout on the Facebook homepage could suggest that Wi-Fi users become a fan of that page.

Facebook confirmed the Wi-Fi test to Inside Facebook, saying:

We are currently running a small test with a few local businesses of a Wi-Fi router that is designed to offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook. When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’ Facebook page.

According to Inside Facebook, the social network is supplying the routers for the test, while the businesses are the source of the Internet access. When Facebook users check in, they are redirected to the business’ Facebook page, after which they can continue to surf the Web free of charge.

Inside Facebook added that page administrators can track how many likes their pages receive as a result of the test, and Facebook users who wish to bypass the check-in process can receive passcodes from the businesses in order to connect.

According to Inside Facebook, the free Wi-Fi test reportedly was spawned as a hackathon project, and, as is the case with all potential products tested by the social network, there was no guarantee that it would be rolled out on a larger basis.

Readers: Do you think offering free Wi-Fi after check-ins is a good way for businesses to promote their Facebook pages, goods, and services?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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