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Nah, the internet functions fine without the French government, and people are always looking to exploit the poor and helpless.

>The differences in CPC between an affluent white male working in tech in San Francisco and a poor black woman selling peanuts on the street in Rufisque, Senegal (which isn't even the most extreme opposite one could think of) is proof of that.

Why then are advertising giants like FB so eagerly expanding into "3rd world" markets and offering "free internet"?

So, you think the French networking infrastructure builds and maintains itself? Companies tend to only build infrastructures in very populated areas where it will quickly turn to profit. French government and collectivities have to incentivize, legalize and pay for them to properly cover the territory. (and to this day there are still a few zones where internet is only available through satellite).

Who do you think built most of the historical (56k & ADSL) network in France?

The French government.

As for expanding into "3rd world" markets, the average monthly Senegalese salary appears to be 139€. And this is a country considered to be doing well in the region.

They're expanding and offering "free internet" because there's nowhere else to go. Because even though it's poor now, there's growth, and they want to be established and deeply encroached when those markets will become worth it. Because they believe better and wider internet coverage will spur even more growth.

The only reason these companies can exist and be worth anything today is because of all the groundwork and investment that has been and continuously is made.

They have saturation, or as near as they are likely to get, of the valuable eyeballs.

Where else could they expand?

Why would they invest so heavily there if there was nothing to be gained?

Not nothing. Market maximising - if there's nowhere else to sell in the developed world, go to the developing world and take 5% or whatever their margin is, on a much lower value of sales (for now).

I'd say it's pretty obviously a calculated risk that they'll develop in value once hooked. Didn't Facebook have a scheme that gave net access in the developing world that re-created the AOL model? Free internet, but it's only FB internet.

The complete or comparative lack of regulation in many areas probably encourages too.

Worked for tobacco companies, works for most other industries.

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