Facebook Inc Free Basics is at the center of net neutrality debate in India. The US firm, which aims at providing free Internet to remote corners of the world, has been accused of favoring certain websites. In its defense, the firm said it is open to the scrutiny of the process by any third-party.
Facebook open to third-party scrutiny
Replying to a question on Reddit portal, Facebook’s Internet.Org VP Chris Daniels said, “We are also happy to have a third party audit of what apps we accept and reject and why. We’ve proposed this to IAMAI and NASSCOM. For the record, we’ve never rejected an app that complies with the guidelines, and we have had the conversation with operators that we wouldn’t reject apps at their discretion.”
Daniels said Free Basics will not associate with any telecom operator’s network if rejecting any application is a condition for their participation. “We’d also be happy to have Twitter, Google+, etc on the platform which many people have asked for,” the executive said.
Facebook Inc is aggressively promoting its controversial Free Basics in India as the last date for comments approaches for TRAI’s paper on differential pricing. The US firm is saying Free Basics is not designed to misled the audience, but is being offered to help people make informed decisions.
What’s all this debate about?
Facebook’s Free Basics is a part of the US firms Internet.Org initiative, which is at the center of the net neutrality debate. Net Neutrality means all websites must be equally accessible to all people, and even cost of accessing such websites should also be same.
Free Basics allow users access some of the basis websites (including its own site) and services free of cost i.e. without paying for the Internet charges. The US firm has set certain technical standards for the firms that plan to join Free Basics.
Critics argue that the program breaches the core concept of net neutrality, which is all the Internet content and users must be treated equally. They also say that Facebook Inc is serving its own commercial interest with its so-called altruistic program
At 10.15 EST, Facebook shares were up 0.95% at $106.91. Year to date, the stock is up over 37% while in the last one-month, it is up almost 2%. The stock has a 52-week high of $110.65 and a 52-week low of $72.