#SadReality : Nasscom Supported Facebook’s FreeBasics In Exchange Of Power

We earlier wrote this:

India’s Biggest Irony : The Deafening Silence Of Unicorn Founders And Nasscom’s Lack Of Clarity [Net Neutrality]

And the truth has come out in Guardian’s long piece on What happened with Facebook’s Free Basics programme in the country.

Zuckerberg began to make personal calls to Indian internet entrepreneurs to rebuild support for Internet.org. One person he contacted was a former senior executive of NASSCOM, India’s software industry lobby. The senior executive told Zuckerberg that he would support Internet.org – but only if Facebook opened up the platform to any company that wanted to participate. Zuckerberg promised him Facebook would make this change in the future. “Can we have your support now?” the executive recalled Zuckerberg asking. “We’ll make it a feature in Internet.org 2.0.”

What you should know about Nasscom’s support (emphasis is ours/read the story here).


Behind the scenes, Zuckerberg made one final offer to India’s software industry. NASSCOM, the software lobby, had come out for net neutrality earlier in the year. But now, days before the deadline, its members were abuzz about the deal Zuckerberg had proposed – the lobby group itself would hold the power to decide which sites were on Facebook’s platform. “That suddenly made them say, ‘Man, that would put us in a very powerful position,’” the former NASSCOM executive told me. The software lobby quietly changed its tune: it told the regulator it supported net neutrality, with an exception for “short-term business promotions” – like Free Basics.


And How Nasscom Changed Its Stand On Net Neutrality?

Well, they were batting for themselves. Eat this:

NASSCOM further proposes that even after requisite approval, a suitable oversight mechanism should be put in place to check that the TSPs continue to abide by the principles of net neutrality. For this, NASSCOM recommends establishment of an independent not-for-profit entity with an independent board, who would own and manage proposed differential pricing programs that are deemed to be in the public interest and are philanthropic in nature.

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely!

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