Facebook’s ambitious Internet.org initiative has reached many countries all around the world. Despite its best attempts to connect developing nations to the wide world of internet, the initiative has been under scrutiny in many countries, including India. Now, in a surprising move, many well-known media giants in India have announced that they will be backing out of Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative, as they feel it contradicts net neutrality principles.
Earlier today, Mark resorted to his Facebook account to share his views about this response from companies. He wrote a detailed post explaining the benefits of his initiative, as well as the moral requirement of such a free internet program. According to Mark, the idea that Internet.org violates the principle of net neutrality is wrong. He states that net neutrality and connectivity for all can, and must, co-exist.
In response to the critics, he stated that the Internet.org initiative does not block or slow down other services. On the other hand, it promotes the use of the internet in such a way that more people can be connected.
“To give more people access to the internet, it is useful to offer some service for free,” he wrote in the blog post on Facebook. “If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all.”
Critics state that this initiative promotes differential treatment between products on the internet. According to this program, some websites and products are offered for free to the public. As a result, competitors might be at a disadvantage, which critics feel violates the essential spirit of net neutrality.
But Zuckerberg responded to these criticisms by saying that everyone is invited to join the program. He further said the following in the blog post.
“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.”
Under the initiative, 800 million users are benefiting from free access to information. It’s already spread to over nine different countries in a number of different local languages.
Well known media conglomerates like The Times of India and NDTV have already withdrawn themselves from the initiative. These companies have also urged other media firms like the BBC to follow their lead.
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