Facebook is inarguably the king of social networking. With Instagram and WhatsApp under its belt, the tech giant will be at the top in the coming years too if things work out. Facebook is also known for exploring new areas for providing social networking to all areas even to the remote places.
Mark Zuckerberg set up Internet.org with a mission to bring the internet to everyone. This is again divided into three approaches
Provides a light version of Facebook with access to important websites and posts at no cost. Aimed mainly at Indian rural areas, Facebook basics can run even on low-end phones.
This approach is concerned with using planes and drones to bring the internet or wireless connection to various areas. The main goal is to connect the regions on the map with free internet.
Improving the Wi-Fi service in various regions to empower entrepreneurs and working people by collaborating with various companies.
Issue With Free Basics
Even though Facebook’s Free Basics is an excellent step for bringing free internet to everyone, the app is in the spotlight right from its inception. Though Free Basics led to many success stories, it violated some laws, particularly of the Indian government.
The problem it had in India is the rule called Net Neutrality. According to Wikipedia, Net neutrality is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” Simply, it is giving equal importance to all content.
This can be better understood with an example. An “X” telecom company loading the webpages of an online shopping company “A” faster than its competitor “B” violates net neutrality as B loses a lot of customers due to the lag caused.
Now, the problem Free basics had was regarding its availability. Free basics are launched exclusively to only a few mobile operators which contradict the whole existence of the service. The working of Facebook exclusively with some operators is the cause of the violation.
Ban of Free Basics
Net Neutrality which received a lot of spotlight from the past few months caused the awareness in people about the malpractices happening in the telecom sector. As a result, Indian regulators released a white paper and demanded public response. A war started between net neutrality activists and Facebook which started campaigns with polls to change public opinion.
According to Wired India, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that no service can “offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.” As a result, Free Basics is banned and Facebook received a huge blow in India, the country with a huge user base.
This major setback in expanding Internet.org costs Facebook a lot and with losing its ground regarding Free Basics in India, the company may have lost a huge chunk of the user base that is needed for making Internet.org big. This ban may also cost Indians the loss of free internet useful otherwise. Let us hope Facebook makes a comeback and this time with strong legal structure.