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Facebook to offer free WiFi for check-ins

Facebook and Cisco have teamed up to give more people access to free WiFi.
By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   Oct. 2, 2013 at 4:39 PM   |   Comments

Oct. 2 (UPI) -- To encourage more people to check-in on Facebook at hotels, restaurants and retailers, the social media giant has teamed up with Cisco to provide free wireless Internet in exchange for check-ins.

The companies jointly announced Wednesday a partnership that will bring social WiFi to more businesses after a pilot of the system in more than 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the San Francisco Bay area.

The arrangement will mean that regular customers of restaurants, airports and superstores are likely to find Facebook WiFi at more of the places they frequent.

The system is available to any merchant running a Cisco router setup. Once enabled, people can connect to a venue's WiFi, launch their browser and click the Facebook check-in button to gain Internet access.

"In a nutshell, this is checking in on Facebook for free WiFi," Erick Tseng, who's heading up the project for the social network, said.

While Facebook will not profit directly from the partnership, but aims to attract more merchants to buy ads on the site, and long-term become a viable source for local search.

"Today's announcement with Cisco really, in my mind, expands the scope of where we can deploy this product," Tseng said. "Through them, we now have access to many of the world's biggest brands and businesses."

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