Facebook is testing a system that would let local businesses offer Wi-Fi access to any customer who checks in on Facebook

The next time you check into a business on Facebook, you could get more than just comments and likes from friends. Now, you also have the opportunity to get free Wi-Fi.

In a statement to Inside Facebook, the social media company revealed that it was testing the idea with a small number of locally-owned businesses.

“We are currently running a small test with a few local businesses of a Wi-Fi router that is designed to offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook. When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’s Facebook Page,” a Facebook representative said in a statement.

While the participating businesses will still be providing the Internet access, the routers beaming the Wi-Fi signal to your laptop or smartphone will come from Facebook itself. When logged into the network, the browser will default to the business’ Facebook page.

The idea is for customers using the Wi-Fi to “like” the business’s Facebook page. The development even allows for the business owner to review how many likes the page has gotten as a result of the service. Customers who don’t wish to participate can still request a passcode from the business for Wi-Fi access.

Will this indeed be something that business owners and customers alike will be interested in?

“We would definitely be interested in something like that,” Garrett Williams told The Daily Dot. Williams supervises the Mugshots Coffeehouse in Philadelphia. “We’ve had some problems with people camping out with the Wi-Fi. So it’d be nice to get something from the customer in exchange.”

Jesse Keenan, a customer at the establishment, had a different opinion.

“[As a customer], I probably wouldn’t be interested in that,” he said. “I would go to a place that is likely to provide regular free Wi-Fi service. Besides, [such an implementation] wouldn’t be a draw for me. If I like the business, I go to the business. Simple as that.”

Keenan also revealed that he did not have a Facebook account, exposing an issue both Facebook and business owners would run into were they to more aggressively test the plan.

For now, the idea is still in its infancy. There is no official word from Facebook regarding expansion or long-term implementation of the service.

Photo via Olivier Bruchez/Flickr

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