Internet.org is Zuckerberg’s wide-ranging plan to bring Internet access to developing countries where the majority of the population may not yet be online. In the lengthy post, Zuckerberg fiercely defended Internet.org, saying the benefits of providing some with Internet access are what’s most important and not at odds with net neutrality.
Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook to defend Internet.org against claims the program conflicts with net neutrality, saying the two principles “can and must coexist.”
In the lengthy post, Facebook’s founder and CEO said he supports net neutrality and reiterated the value of providing Internet access — even if it’s limited — to people in developing countries.
Zuckerberg’s remarks come just days after Internet.org made headlines when a number of prominent Indian companies withdrew their support for the program. Internet.org is Zuckerberg’s wide-ranging plan to bring Internet access to developing countries where the majority of the population may not yet be online.
The service provides limited Internet access by making content from certain websites and services — Facebook, BBC News and Wikipedia, for example — available to mobile devices for free, with no data charges to the customer. But net neutrality activists in India have kindled a serious debate around the service, saying providing access to only certain types of content violates the tenets of net neutrality, which maintains a free and open Internet is essential.
In the lengthy post, Zuckerberg fiercely defended Internet.org, saying the benefits of providing some with Internet access are what’s most important and not at odds with net neutrality.
“To give more people access to the Internet, it is useful to offer some service for free,” Zuckerberg wrote. “If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all. Internet.org doesn’t block or throttle any other services or create fast lanes — and it never will. We’re open for all mobile operators and we’re not stopping anyone from joining. We want as many Internet providers to join so as many people as possible can be connected.”
He later jumped into the comments to explain why the social network can’t make the entire Internet free (it’s too expensive) and how the service partners are chosen.
But Zuckerberg’s critics seem to be less than convinced. In a post on Hindustan Times, a group called the Save the Internet coalition called Internet.org “Zuckerberg’s ambitious project to confuse hundreds of millions of emerging market users into thinking that Facebook and the Internet are one and the same.”
“The reason you’re reading Mr. Zuckerberg defend Internet.org so vehemently in a signed op-ed in the Indian press is because enough Indians — users, startups, media companies — have realized that Facebook is not, and should not be, the Internet,” the group wrote. “Internet.org is a proprietary and secret Facebook initiative to ensure its competitors, and those of its ‘partners,’ will face obstacles in reaching hundreds of millions of poorer users bought using the lure of ‘free.’ ” Read more…