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.
The initiative forces employees to use Facebook apps like Messenger and — well, Facebook — on a much slower connection than they enjoy stateside.
Facebook’s engineering director Tom Alison tells Business Insider the difference was jarring at first. “It definitely tested my patience — it felt like parts of the product were just broken.” He also says engineers will “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.”
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. “
It’s a smart move for Facebook, which also has its internet.org program to help bring connectivity to more of the world. Even with a connection, the chances emerging markets like rural India will see LTE anytime soon are very slim.