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#Facebook Use #App to Promote #Internet.org in #India

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Facebook's ongoing initiative to bring internet further across the globe hasn't been exactly plain sailing. The central idea is sound, but from a certain, cynical perspective it does look a lot like rather than wanting to bring internet around the world, they want to bring their internet. The access they're offering is limited to Facebook and a few other select sites, in its current form, which kind of defeats the purpose of having the internet at all. As such, they've been met with some opposition, particularly in India.

To combat this (and possibly in part as a response to Google's recent developments in Sri Lanka), they have started surveying Indian users via their mobile app. Indian users who have the app will at some point see a little pop, which simply asks 'Do you think India should have free basic internet services?'

That's it. It doesn't clarify exactly what it's referring to and only allows a 'Yes, I'm in' or 'Not now' response. So you can't even exactly say not, not yet, which is basically a roundabout way of saying yes, just with the added caveat of more time. If the critics of Internet.org found it so easy to poke holes in the project before, this is going to make it even easier for them, since from a certain point of view it looks like they're trying to trick more Indians into saying yes, thus availing them of a statistic to throw in the faces of nay-sayers later down the line.

In Facebook's defence, they are trying to bring new partners in to make the service more broad and by the time they actually start rolling it out (if they ever do) it might well be a lot bigger than anyone anticipated. Their drone project remains the more exciting, interesting prospect though, since the internet they'll be able to broadcast using that will be much faster and more effective than with the mobile network service that Internet.org is touting.

The jury's still out on whether or not it's worth temporarily throwing out net neutrality in order to speed up the process of making internet access truly global, but Facebook have said that the two must co-exist. It's largely a case of pragmatism versus realism.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#Facebook Use #App to Promote #Internet.org in #India Reviewed by Callum Davies on Sunday, August 09, 2015 Rating: 5

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