Yet again, Mark Zuckerberg wants to challenge the way we perceive the Internet. Next on his agenda is a plan to bring Facebook Free Basics to the United States, a plan that doesn’t yet bode well with the Government and that many internet users are happy about.
More to the point, Free Basics is a platform that allows limited access to the internet, without any data charge. Also called a “zero-rating plan,” this platform is meant to provide very basic internet access to rural areas from countries around the world. The platform only allows basic access to websites such as the local news, Wikipedia, and, of course, Facebook.
Internet providers such as T-Mobile and Verizon have offered similar packages in the past, but those were rather centered on specific audio and video content. Still, they were considered a violation of the net neutrality rules. The net neutrality principle states that all internet providers allow access to all content and do not favor nor do they block data from any particular source.
While this principle is easy to stand by in most developed countries, states in Africa (for example) have welcomed the Facebook Free Basics initiative. In fact, 49 countries have welcomed the platform.
Not all were happy with the program. India has banned Free Basics soon after it was introduced, while Egypt did the same thing, one week later. In the US, Free Basics is targeted to rural areas that lack or have low internet access.
While the initiative to give the whole world access to information may be considered a step in the right direction, it is not unlike Facebook to artificially increase its user database, and thus receive higher ad remunerations.
Facebook Free Basics is yet to be implemented in the United States, but Mark Zuckerberg and his associates are already negotiating with government officials. One change comes from Facebook’s decision to allow any other third-party organization to take part in the effort, whereas before, they decided who and what they would allow on their Free Basics program.
The decision might also be one of the loopholes that would make the social network giant avoid repercussions for violating the net neutrality principles. If anyone can get on board, then it’s not favoring or blocking, right?
What is your opinion on Facebook Free Basics?
Image source: Wikipedia