Facebook offers free "Bluetooth beacons" to businesses across the country

A shot of the beacon, which Facebook is shipping out to businesses on a first-come, first-serve basis

Facebook has launched a new program today which promises to help businesses promote their Facebook page in real life.

The company is offering up physical beacons, dubbed "Bluetooth Beacons," to businesses with popular Facebook pages on a first-come, first-serve basis. The soft launch is an expansion of their Place Tips program, which Facebook introduced in January by offering beacons to various restaurants and stores in New York City.

Now, businesses across the country can utilize the beacon, based on a Bluetooth protocol introduced by Apple in WWDC 2013, to promote their company to people nearby.

Using Bluetooth technology, these beacons send a one-way signal to the Facebook app on your customers' phones to help us show them the right information about your business during their visit. They don't collect any information from people or their phones or change the kind of location information Facebook receives.

People with popular Facebook pages may see the box below pop up on the top of their news feed, allowing them to enter their shipping info to receive a free beacon in the indeterminate future.​

According to Facebook, the beacon will display a slew of relevant information to people nearby who open Facebook, including:

  • Prompts to like your Page and check in
  • Their friends' recommendations
  • Posts from your Facebook Page

The beacons will begin shipping out soon to businesses who request them, and Facebook says the owners will be contacted when a beacon becomes available - meaning Facebook users may soon begin to see many more business-related posts on their news feed when they're out and about.

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