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The first satellite in Facebook’s plan for global internet access just exploded

AP Photo/Marcia Dunn
The explosion could be seen from space, unlike Facebook’s satellite.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

The first step in Facebook’s grand vision to connect the entire world to the internet—or Facebook—has gone up in flames.

Earlier today, a SpaceX rocket carrying a satellite that Facebook planned to use in its initiative exploded during a pre-launch test at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The rocket was due to send the satellite up into orbit Sept. 3, but during the set-up and testing process, an “anomaly” occurred on the launch pad, according to SpaceX, and the rocket exploded.

Facebook had planned to lease some of the bandwidth on the satellite, Amos 6, from its operator, the Israeli company SpaceCom, to beam internet to sub-Saharan Africa.

The satellite was intended to fill in until Facebook’s more ambitious plans for internet access are ready, including developing and launching massive solar-powered drones that use lasers to beam internet to the ground. This the first time Facebook had planned to use a satellite.

It’s been a rough week for Facebook. On Friday (Aug. 26), it fired the entire editorial staff on its Trending news team, and replaced them with an algorithm, which has since promoted fake news and could potentially be gamed into promoting hate speech.

At the same time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is insisting the company is not a media company, even though many of its 1.7 billion users rely on it to get their news. He also made a voice-activated thermostat for his house that doesn’t respond to his wife’s voice, for some reason gave a toy model of Facebook’s drone to the Pope, and told this to an audience in Nigeria:

Things were probably a lot simpler for Zuckerberg back then.

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