Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has hit out against critics of Free Basics in a blog on Times of India. He said that he is surprised that there is a big debate about Free Basics in India even though the platform offers so many benefits. “Instead of wanting to give people access to some basic internet services for free, critics of the program continue to spread false claims – even if that means leaving behind a billion people,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg went on to say that instead of recognising the fact that Free Basics opens up the whole internet, critics falsely claim that the platform would make it “more like a walled garden.” He also tackled critics’ argument that Free Basics would give people less choice by saying that the platform is willing to partner with any operator and allows any developer to offer services to people for free. He also added that Free Basics fully respects net neutrality. “What reason is there for denying people free access to vital services for communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and women’s rights?” questioned Zuckerberg.
According to his post, for every ten people connected to the internet, one is lifted out of poverty. He also talked about the achievements of Free Basics and said that 35 operators have launched the platform and more than 15 million people have come online because of it. Zuckerberg added that half the people who use Free Basics to go online for the first time pay to access the internet within 30 days.
Last week, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had told Reliance Communications to temporarily stop Facebook’s Free Basics service. According to reports, Reliance has sent a compliance report to the regulator, which confirms that the service has been stopped. Facebook has also launched a campaign to save the platform by asking users to send an email to TRAI stating their support for Free Basics.
Source: Times of India