Facebook users in India have been seeing a pop-up message asking them to support free access to basic Internet services in the country through the company’s Internet.org service.

Facebook Internet Org Message

When we say ‘ask’ we mean ‘force’ since the message doesn’t seem to have the option of answering “no” with Yes, I’m in” and “Not Now” being the only two options.

Facebook’s heavy handed tactics to gather support for Internet.org comes at a time when the Indian Telecom Ministry’s panel on net neutrality proposed against having services such as Internet.org.

Internet.org received negative publicity for being anti net neutrality by selectively signing up with publishers and services. Effectively, Facebook was controlling what a user has ‘free access’ to.

The revolt forced Facebook to open up its Internet.org platform to all developers and the service has even begun partnering with multiple service providers in order to reach more people.

Still, the point is that Facebook is trying to raise support for Internet.org in order to make a case for letting it run the service the way it pleases in India. Unfortunately, all users can do is agree with Facebook either now, or do it later.

1 Comment

  1. internet.org : -> Is it evil ?
    Absolutely Not.
    Following logic is given against internet.org
    => Free internet access to selected few websites will kill competitions. If browsing is free for facebook.com and flipkart.com then people won’t visit other websites like amazon.com, snapdeal.com etc.

    It is total rubbish. Why ?
    1) Lets say restaurant A offers toll free number for home delivery
    and restaurant B does not. If we apply same logic, then everybody will call restaurant A and restaurant B is doomed. But in all practicality, it is not.
    Business will flourish based on who provides tasty food, more variety and better delivery.
    Because one phone call does not cost much. Same logic is applied to internet.
    Lets say flipkart is on Airtel Zero platform, that does not mean people wont check competitive pricing in other websites. Moreover internet charges are almost free, if you are within your plan limit.(lets say Rs 100 for 300 MB data)

    2) internet.org is targeting people who cannot afford internet, who never used internet before. If they cannot afford internet , are they going to buy items online from sanpdeal, amazon,flipkart ?
    Moreover 80/20 rule says 20% of the population generates 80% of the revenues for these company. All big ticket items will be purchased by these 20% of the population. So these people, who never used internet before, were never a customer for these companies.
    So competition will be killed is utter nonsense.

    3) If free access to Facebook is an issue, then same way free TV channel like Doordarshan should be an issue.
    Doordarshan is always under political influence of ruling party, but facebook is completely open platform, absolutely anyone can share their views and useful information.

    4) If business houses provide free internet instead of government doling out subsidies ,what is the harm ?

    5) Internet.org’s list of 38 sites includes Facebook, Wikipedia, cricinfo.com, three job sites (babajobs, Jagran Josh, TimesJobs), and various healthcare, childcare and weather services.
    babajobs posts jobs for Maid, Cook, Aayah, Nurse, Helper etc. Similarly Wikipedia is a store house of knowledge and information. So this free internet going to help those who have never used internet before to find better jobs with better salary and move up the social ladder. They might even take a monthly mobile data plan.

    6) There will be always naysayers, when Indians s/w engineers started with Y2k problem, these naysayers used to call them software coolies, but Y2k
    facilitated software service industry which attracted global corporation in India and eventually start-up ecosystem was created here.

    7) Who are against internet.org ? People like us, who can afford internet. We are deciding the fate of those, who never used internet before. This is absolutely ridiculous.

    These naysayers are myopic in their views and fail to see the big picture and always see conspiracy in everything.

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