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Facebook's new ads want us to believe it's the only thing connecting us to the world

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The Our Friends and Internet.org ads try to make money off empathy

Facebook has long been touting its power to connect old friends and long-lost acquaintances, but its new ad campaign takes that one step further. The company's recently released ad series reminds us that Facebook is worldwide, and as such, it can connect people around the world.

Internet friendship with a catch

Its new ad campaign is divided into two themes: Our Friends, which reminds us that Facebook is about "Freedom and kissing and love. Bangs or no bangs," (above) and Internet.org, which wonders what people in developing countries would be able to do, if only they had internet access (below).

Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org project aims to make the internet available to people without it, and this is not the first time its advertising has appealed to human connection. Its 2013 campaign, #ConnectTheWorld, attempted to highlight cultural differences while celebrating social similarities.

But these feel-good ads cover up the fact that Facebook's connectivity comes with a catch. Internet.org pushes against the equality net neutrality strives for; its users can only view Facebook and certain other whitelisted sites unless they pay a data fee. It's not the internet Zuckerberg is bringing to the world, it's the internet through Facebook. Connecting the world is only worthwhile to Facebook if it can dictate how those connections are made.