Facebook looks to garner support for its Free Basics initiative

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Bangalore | Updated: December 18, 2015 9:06:47 AM

Facebook users are getting notifications from the company since Tuesday urging them to support the Free Basics Initiative

facebookWith over 125 million users in India, Facebook, the largest social networking site is pushing hard to garner support for its Free Basics initiative — formerly Internet.org in India, which is alleged to be against the net neutrality principles. (PTI)

With over 125 million users in India, Facebook, the largest social networking site is pushing hard to garner support for its Free Basics initiative — formerly Internet.org in India, which is alleged to be against the net neutrality principles.

Facebook users are getting notifications from the company since Tuesday urging them to support the Free Basics Initiative – with a pre-written message claiming that Free Basics is in danger in India and their support would be sent to Trai as part of their new consultation paper regarding differential data pricing.

The message claims, “Free Basics gives people access to vital services like communication, healthcare, education, job listings and farming information – all without data charges. It helps those who can’t afford to pay for data, or who need a little help getting started online. And it’s open to all people, developers and mobile operators.” It further says, “Unless you take action now, India could lose access to free basic internet services, delaying progress towards digital equality for all Indians.”

In an e-mail response to FE regarding the campaign, a Facebook spokesperson said, “Hundreds of millions of people in India use the internet every day and understand the benefits it can bring. This campaign gives people the opportunity to support digital equality in India. It lets people speak in support of the one billion people in India who remain unconnected, and lets them participate in the public debate that is being held by The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on differential pricing for data services. And it gives them the opportunity to support Free Basics, which is proven to bring more people online and accelerate full internet adoption.”

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zukerberg had commented saying, “We fully support net neutrality. We want to keep the internet open. Net neutrality ensures network operators don’t discriminate by limiting access to services you want to use. It’s an essential part of the open internet, and we are fully committed to it. But net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected. These two principles — universal connectivity and net neutrality — can and must coexist.”

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