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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org Project Under Fire

     
1:46 pm on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's not all sweetness with Mark Zuckerberg's project, internet.org, to bring the Internet to the wider audience in developing countries. Several Indian firms have pulled out of the project claiming that it's confusing consumers into thinking Facebook is the Internet. I suppose, if it's the first thing they connect to, it's probably easy to confuse the issue. There's also the aspect of net neutrality to deal with.

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has defended the aims of his Internet.org initiative after several Indian firms decided to pull out of the project.

In a blog post, Mr Zuckerberg argued that Internet.org's basic free services were not incompatible with net neutrality - the principle that all web services should be equally accessible.

"We fully support net neutrality," he wrote. "Universal connectivity and net neutrality can and must co-exist."

But critics were quick to respond.

Writing in the Hindustan Times, India's Save The Internet coalition maintained that Internet.org is "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." Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org Project Under Fire [bbc.co.uk]


Here's Mark Zuckerberg's response.

[facebook.com...]
6:51 pm on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think they are right. He calls it "internet.org", and gives talking points that hammer the words "access to the internet" over and over.

But, what's provided is access to a limited number of pre-approved sites.

That's not the internet. It's somewhat like the first iteration of AOL.

Does that have merit? Sure. Just don't keep calling it "the internet", because it's not.
7:01 pm on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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> It's somewhat like the first iteration of AOL.

I remember having the same issues with Compuserve 20+ years ago, though of course that was more due to lack of understanding than lack of ability to do so.
11:04 pm on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Facebook knows that people in low-infrastructure countries conflate Facebook and the Internet: [qz.com...]
11:47 pm on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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thinking Facebook is the Internet

Is it not?

I guess when you patronise people it alienates them.

The main problem is that they pick the services after consultation with "local governments"
This approach breeds corruption and censorship.
12:34 am on Apr 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A lot of pretty words and high sounding ideals, but it's the boots on the ground, isps and providers, getting the short shrift. Don't blame them for pulling out. As they say: TANSTAAFL.
1:43 am on Apr 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Power inspires nothing more than the desire to retain it, increase it and to eliminate anything that threatens it.
2:04 am on Apr 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Wire fencing the users away from the rest of the internet will only help create and sustain the monopoly of a select few. Even the people who are falling for it should realize that this 'free' carrot will last only for a few months or a year or two at best.

If Mark Zuckerberg wants people to benefit, he should come up with a way to give people unconditional access to the internet, even if extremely limited in terms of data transfer. That would be philanthropy.
3:28 am on Apr 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Of course Facebook is not the Internet, Google is. :)
4:57 am on Apr 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That tells us something about how mobile app use affects people's perceptions! What happens when they follow shared links?

Most importantly, it shows what happens if you do not enforce net neutrality. As well as Indian ISPs offering Facebook packages, I have also found a Sri Lankan ISP offering a package that had twice as much usage for Youtube as for the rest of the internet, and a Cambodian one offering unlimited Facebook.

What is really good about Zuckerberg's response that says FB supports net neutrality!
5:24 am on Apr 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Its not just the third world: its happening in the US too: [blogs.wsj.com...]
1:06 pm on Apr 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"Indian firms"?

I know plenty of people who think this way right here in the US where I am.

They'll say "I read about X on facebook" but can't tell you from who or where the information is derived.


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2:01 am on Apr 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Of course Facebook is not the Internet, Google is. :)


You're more right about that than you might even know ... Working with clients over the years and nearly all of them think the Google Search box is the address bar for their browser.

Some even get semi-hostile when it's pointed out to them .. and here all this time they thought that they were quite the internet savvy guru.
5:25 am on Apr 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I see that all the time. Its not always Google though. A while back (before Google was such a big brand- about 13 years ago) I tried to show someone how to use Google, and she said" I just type it in the browser", which, with internet explorer back then, got awful MSN search results.

I do not often here "read about X on Facebook", but I do hear "read about X on the internet".

@farmboy, the significance of the "Indian firms" is that they were ISPs supplying these limited packages. US ISPs have tried it(see my link above) but net neutrality regulations will probably kill it in the US (which is why they are trying to challenge them in court). In poorer countries, where fewer people have internet access to start with, FB has a chance to convince a large chunk of the population that Facebook is all they need.
 

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