Recently Mark visited India for Question & Answers Townhall at IIT Delhi. He has taken a lot of question and expressed his views on a wide variety of topics. I would like to share my views on one of the topics which are very widely talked as Net-neutrality.
Let’s see first highlighted points Marks made in the Townhall:
- Facebook Supports Net-Neutrality but also support zero-rating plans
- He talked about Internet.org and how it is spreading the Internet
- How important India is for Facebook (130 million Facebook users in India)
- He re-iterated the fact that The internet should be available to masses and it is our moral responsibility
- How The internet is important for people and nation, It Creates more jobs
Please see below video for complete Townhall coverage: For more details on his statement, you can check this article
My view on Net Neutrality:
Before I begin, let me clarify I am not against more jobs, spreading the internet to masses or connect India to the world. I think the Facebook intention behind Internet.org is to get more users base of Facebook and their products. It destroys the basic concept of the free internet. He knows India has a big population and a lot of young people using Internet. He wants to get more users from India and China and that’s why he is more inclined to India and China. Mark knows in future providing free internet is a better deal if it gets him more users. Zero-rating or toll-free data for a specific service by the mobile service provider is always against Net Neutrality.
Mark is supporting it as it is beneficial for his company. Telecom company have invested so much in infrastructure for providing the internet, why they will provide it free. So when a big business man decides to create a platform and provide free Internet, there is definitely some hidden agenda behind it. Facebook does not want to be next Orkut, which finally closed as Facebook overtakes it because of new and innovative features. They want to provide some selected services through free Internet and bind you to get addicted to Facebook.
When you will get it free, you use Facebook often; that’s what they want. In the name of service or moral responsibility to the world, he is pushing his product to masses. Also, he is very much interested in India as people here does like to share everything. From Good morning to Good night, they share everything. Sometimes even private information like Birthday, Birthplace etc information is shared which is often used for forget password option. People sometime share their check-in resulting in a burglary at the home. You can ready this post about Oversharing on Facebook for more info.
This is really a threat to open Internet and it gives Facebook a gain or advantage over other competitive. Suppose I want to create a social media website in future, no one will use my service as Facebook service is free on Internet.org. Where is the open competitive environment? He knows people in India like free stuff and he is pressing that weak pulse. Facebook will monetize this platform with Facebook ads soon and earn money. They will also never provide how much users base they have on this platform. On the other side, Mark can add humanitarian service to the world. In my opinion, this will destroy the original concept of open Internet. Nobody should own this Internet. But I am not saying that Internet.org does not add any value to our country. Many people are getting connected to the internet and learning new things. But it should never have happened at the cost of favoring one service to other.
All service providers should be given equal opportunity and the big company like Facebook, Twitter, Google and others should not take control of it. There is still a lot of question unanswered, and many people are not convinced with Mark. As rightly said by the save the Internet team, this will create a digital divide in the country; People who are using Internet.org and people who use free internet.
How you can support Net Neutrality campaign:
You can ask influential people like your MP, political leaders, startup business, existing business to raise their voice against net neutrality. Ask question to Facebook and Google about their support to zero based rating. Write about it in your blog.
I would like to end this post with this wonderful video from AIB team on save the Internet campaign.Please do use the comment section to let me know your opinion about Net Neutrality and open Internet.