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Facebook & Internet.org: Will it Expand the World of today, or Shape the World of Tomorrow?


huffingtonpost.com

Facebook under Fire for Falling Short of Fairness as Plans for Free Internet Face Complaints on Net Neutrality.


Marky Mark Zuckerberg continues the do-gooder’s crusade that encapsulates all that it is to be extremely young, empathetic, wealthy and clever. His newest venture seeks to rain free internet upon people who currently do not have, and need, access to it. This data distribution is now being sustained by a network of mobile internet connections; however, there are future plans to launch giant bird-like drones into the sky that will hover just above plane height and soar in circles like sun hungry, solar powered, satellites, transmitting down data to those below. 


The project Internet.org is already live in in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America and looks to keep leaking through to fill the cracks in connectivity.
Their statement:

Over 85% of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, yet only about 30% of the total population accesses the internet. Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to internet adoption for many and today we are introducing the Internet.org app to make the internet accessible to more people by providing a set of free basic services.

                                                              -http://internet.org/press/introducing-the-internet-dot-org-app

The initiative comes in app form, allowing users in areas where access is limited or unaffordable, to use basic internet services for free. These services include job seeking sites, Health and mother care, weather, and even Wikipedia. The idea is to equip as many people as possible with the tools required in knowledge driven economy.

One of their many, many promotional videos describes the project in terms of the potential of the two thirds of people currently offline. The hope is to spark and inspire innovation and creation without being limited by economic extremities. It is true that some amazing things have followed people’s freedom to discover, and toy with the wonders of the internet in recent years, but the idea that they are giving a voice to the speechless is not without flaw.

thedrum.com
It seems that, in a display of Western arrogance, Facebook have overlooked the multidimensional nature of human expression. It is certainly true that, with only one third of the world online, there is boundless innovative potential in spreading the wealth of knowledge that lies at our finger tips, but the emphasis on enlightenment is patronizing. Rather than follow in the footsteps of the current technical titans, a fresh take on technology may open our eyes to online possibilities outside of our current structure of thought. Let’s take language, for example; if the world spoke in a universal tongue, global communication would be a much simpler thing. However, in discarding all other languages, what would be lost would not just be sounds and letters, but perspective; our view of the world would become much narrower, refined to just one strip of a rainbow.

So, if internet.org intended to become truly well-meaning, they would have to offer not just what our culture defines as ‘basics services’, but the freedom to examine the building blocks of the internet. This would enable them the possibility of creating brand new frameworks, allowing the internet to open up and swallow the endless spectrum of perspectives offered by language and meaning.


pageresource.com
Recently, Facebook have faced criticism for the project’s lack of net neutrality, resulting in the departure of such companies as Cleartrip.com and Times Group. The contention has largely lain in the decision to only include participating companies in the ‘basic service’ provided. Although any business is free to sign up to Internet.org, some providers feel excluded due to the fact that they are expected to pay the bill for the data traffic in order to freely distribute their service. This is something that not everyone can, or want to, cover.




It is interesting to see that, as the internet integrates ever seamlessly into our daily lives, we are starting to establish a type of list of online human rights. Will we one day be born with a right to the internet? It seems the internet is fundamentally migrating from luxury, to tool, to necessity, and with that being the case, it looks like Facebook are leading the race towards that sort of legislation



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Facebook & Internet.org: Will it Expand the World of today, or Shape the World of Tomorrow? Reviewed by Leo Donnelly on Friday, April 24, 2015 Rating: 5

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