Is Airtel Kenya Blocking Facebook’s Instant Articles?

There are some things tweeting the Airtel customer care guys would feel like a waste of time. Jamo and Caro at @Airtel_KE won’t have an answer for this.

You know Facebook Instant articles where you click on articles from your Facebook app and they appear instantly. Basically:

Facebook Instant Articles
Fast, Cool!

But something I have noticed for about 3 weeks now, is that this doesn’t work when using Airtel Kenya internet.

At first I thought maybe it is because browsing Facebook on Airtel Kenya internet is free. But then I realised my internet bundles are still “eaten up” while browsing Facebook. So why is it one cannot access the Instant Articles as they are designed to be?

Note that: Facebook is only “free”, for me, on Airtel when the “Unliminet” package is over. Which means that I should enjoy all Facebook services before the package ends. 

When I am using Airtel Internet and there’s an article with the “thunderbolt” sign (meaning it is an Instant Article) this is what I get when I click on it:

Airtel Kenya Instant Articles
It then goes on to open the browser.

And that shouldn’t be the case. The article, ideally, is hosted on Facebook serves and loads within the app as the rest of the content loads. Meaning that this is what I should get immediately I click on the piece:

Ideal Instant Articles
I wonder how many people haven’t seen Instant Articles because they’re on Airtel

Which begs the question: is Airtel doing this on purpose? Do they know that this is the case? Funny enough, Airtel Kenya are the only providers in the country who partnered with Facebook for (read here) which, all the controversies aside, seeks to bring free internet to the world.

I hope Airtel read and explain all this. 

But this isn’t the only problem. Sometimes when on Airtel Kenya internet, the Facebook app completely refuses to load and tells you you are not connected to the internet. Other times it loads your News Feed but when you try to access a Facebook page, you are told you’re not connected to the internet.

Have you encountered such issues?



  1. Had the same problem. Go to Access Point Names settings and change the APN from Airtel wap to Airtel Internet. Solved the problem for me.

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