|Is Facebook's Internet.org Against Net Neutrality?
By: Jessica Cherok
Recently, Internet.org has come under fire from India. The project, which is headed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has been accused of being against net neutrality.
Internet.org is "a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have Internet access.” While Zuckerberg insists that he, Facebook, and Internet.org support net neutrality, critics in India disagree.
In fact, India’s Save The Internet Coalition claimed that Internet.org is “Zuckerberg’s ambitious project to confuse hundreds of millions of emerging market users into thinking that Facebook and the Internet are one and the same.”
Facebook has long sought to be users’ single resource and access point for all things online.
Specifically, India is taking issue with Internet.org being free. Providers are not allowed to pass along the cost of data traffic to the users. Critics are arguing that this undermines competition, and that only providers affiliated with Internet.org can reach users. Facebook counters that any provider can sign up with Internet.org.
In other words, as long as you sign up with Internet.org, you can reach users.
For nearly 800,000 people in India, this directly conflicts with the basics of net neutrality, and a number of companies have pulled out of the Internet.org project altogether.
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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