Facebook is offering free international calling from member to member in a bid to upset Skype’s market dominance in the voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) realm.
The new service from Facebook, which is called Bobsled, requires no download or log-in. All the calls are free. Behind the scenes, T-Mobile is running the operation for Facebook. This service should be available to use as a Facebook app on smart phones in the future. So in theory, if you have unlimited data on your phone, you can talk to someone anywhere in world through Facebook for free!
You better believe this is making Skype very unhappy. It’s also putting the squeeze on cell phone companies who are used to charging people for international calling through their data plans. In the end, the real winner is you of course — if you’re a Facebook user!
Meanwhile, Facebook has also put a renewed focus on electronic bullying. There are newly updated guides for both parents and teens in the Family Safety Center. Among the updates: It’s now easier to report cyber-bullying and inappropriate messages, and you can anonymously report something on behalf of your teen.
But a lot of teens aren’t having it. They’ve created a website to complain about their parents joining Facebook! (I’ve elected not to name this website because it does contain some language that’s not appropriate for a family-friendly show.)
My advice? Do not allow your son or daughter to use Facebook below whatever age you think is appropriate, unless you “friend” them and can monitor what’s going on in their orbit. Remember, it’s your job to be their parent. You will have your child’s entire adulthood to be his or her friend (in the traditional sense of the word.)
Editor’s note: Minutes after Clark went on the air, the following statement was posted on Bobsled’s Facebook page: “We are voluntarily and temporarily suspending the Bobsled service as we work with our partners at Facebook to address their design questions related to differentiating the Bobsled experience from Facebook’s own created properties. We apologize for this temporary disruption and are looking forward to expanding the service with other features soon.”