A month after prime minister Narendra Modi held a townhall at the Facebook headquarters in California, the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg is all set to do the same at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, on October 28. Though this would be Zuckerberg’s third visit to India—one of the visits was to a temple here at a time when he was contemplating selling his company—he has much more at stake now. Given how Facebook’s Free Basics initiative (earlier called internet.org) has been in hot water ever since the net neutrality controversy broke in India, he could also need to make a pitch for it that will be brookable to the supporters of absolute net neutrality—comments on his post about the impending visit on his Facebook wall have already brought up the subject.
While Zuckerberg wrote about how Indian users of Facebook comprise one of the social media giant’s “most active and engaged communities”, according to a statement from the company, Zuckerberg will also meet with developers, partners “and others who are building new digital services and working on ways to connect more people to them”. Given how tech giants have been shopping for start-ups the world over, it can be expected that the visit could be about that and more.