The social media giant Facebook received huge criticism with its Internet.org in India, but Facebook didn’t give up and rebranded it as Intenert.org with “Free Basics”. This app as well as its web platform gives access to no less than 250 services in 19 countries including India. The announcement was made at Facebook Headquarters in Melno Park, California by Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org, in the presence of a small group of Indian journalists.
Free basics users get access to 60 new free services. This announcement fall into place before the PM Narendra Modi town hall meet meet with the Facebook founder and CEO mark Zuckerberg at the new campus.
“…about the ‘improvements’ and the platform being ‘open to all developers’. “We’ve improved the security and privacy of Internet.org. We already encrypt information everywhere possible, and starting today Internet.org also supports secure HTTPS web services as well,” ~ Mark Zuckerberg
In a post a few hours later, Zuckerberg said Facebook has “listened to feedback from the community” and made “significant improvements to Internet.org”. “Connectivity is not and end in itself. It is what they do with it that matters…,” he wrote in the post, which cited the example of Asif Mujhawar, a soybean farmer in rural Maharashtra.
Chris Daniels, vice-president of Internet.org, said the idea was to create a “differentiation” from the wider objectives of Internet.org. “We want to give people access to a few free basics services on the Internet and we know they will quickly understand the value of the Internet,” he said during an interaction at Facebook’s new office in Menlo Park.
Intenet.org was recognized as “walled garden” in account of its criticism for its limited number of partners and single service provider. Daniel said the Free Basics was now open to all developers and there was no intention of putting a filter on it. “Also, there is no exclusivity with Reliance in India.
Daniel aslo said that initiatives like Intenet.org were important as in India, for instance, had over a billion people not connected to the Internet.