All You Need to Know About Internet.org , Free Basics

All You Need to Know About Internet.org , Free Basics

What is Facebook internet.Org ?

  • “Connectivity can’t just be a privilege for some of the rich and powerful. It needs to be something that everyone shares and an opportunity for everyone.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Founder Chairman and CEO of Facebook.
  • Internet.org is a free Internet Project by Facebook , A social Networking Website .
  • Mark Zuckerberg launched Internet.org in 2013 to bring Internet access to the developing world. Internet.org is a global partnership between Facebook and several telecommunication companies, including Samsung, Ericsson and Qualcomm (QCOM).
  • He pitches internet connectivity and affordable internet services as a basic human right.
  • According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg accessing Knowledge is Right Every Human being .

 

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What is Net Neutrality?

  • All content available on the internet is equal and all websites must be equally accessible to everyone.
  • Once you pay for an internet plan, you should be allowed to access any website you want, without discrimination or restriction.
  • No matter which telecom operator is providing you internet services, you should be able to access all date on the internet at the same speed.

What has internet.org got to do with net neutrality?

  • What Zuckerberg’s internet.org (in collaboration with Reliance Communications, which means only Reliance users are eligible) offer is ‘free access’ only to Facebook with a few partnering platforms, which basically means internet.org is a project to get people on Facebook than provide internet access.
  • This very restriction of access, letting users use only Facebook and those 50 odd affiliates, is a villain to net neutrality in disguise.
  • It means those companies who pay Reliance communications more will be made available to users who use internet.org and those who choose not to will be inaccessible.
  • Breaking down, internet.org will force telecom operators to lobby against net neutrality.

The top 10 facts about Free Basics

  1. There are other successful models (this, this, this) for providing free Internet access to people, without giving a competitive advantage to Facebook. Free Basics is the worst of our options.
  2. Facebook doesn’t pay for Free Basics, telecom operators do. Where do they make money from? From users who pay. By encouraging people to choose Free Basics, Facebook reduces the propensity to bring down data costs for paid Internet access.
  3. Free Basics isn’t about bringing people online. It’s about keeping Facebook and its partners free, while everything else remains paid. Users who pay for Internet access can still access Free Basics for free, giving Facebook and its partners an advantage. Free Basics is a violation of Net Neutrality
  4. Internet access is growing rapidly in India. We’ve added 100 million users in 2015. Almost all the connections added in India the last 1 year are NOT because of Free Basics.
  5. Free Basics is not an open platform. Facebook defines the technical guidelines for Free Basics, and reserves the right to change them. They reserve the right to reject applicants, who are forced to comply with Facebook’s terms. In contrast they support ‘permissionless innovation’ in the US.
  6. The only source of info on Facebook’s Free Basics is Facebook, and it misleads people. Facebook was criticised in Brazil for misleading advertising. (source) Their communication in India is misleading. People find the “Free” part of Free Basics advertising from Facebook (or FreeNet free Internet) from Reliance misleading. (source)
  7. Facebook gets access to all the usage data and usage patterns of all the sites on Free Basics. No website which wants to compete with Facebook will partner with them because it will have to give them user data. Facebook gives data to the NSA (source) and this is a security issue for India.
  8. Research has shown that people prefer to use the open web for a shorter duration over a limited set of sites for a longer duration. (source)
  9. Facebook says that Free Basics doesn’t have ads, but does not say that it will never have ads on Free Basics.
  10. Facebook has shown people as saying that they support Free Basics when they haven’t. They may claim 3.2 million in support, but how many of those mails are legitimate?