Facebook’s project Internet.org whose mission is to bring the internet to all places not connected remains a tough sell in India. Facebook’s project first announced in 2013 set out to include 4 billion more as internet users and for cutting cost of delivering basic services on mobile phones. The project was harshly criticized and branded as self-interest making sure that the next generation was pretty much locked into the Facebook user base. Facebook is joined in the mission by other tech giants. Internet.org is deliberately stripped down to minimize data use and the cost to the phone company. It has free services: news articles, health and job information and a text only version of Facebook. The base in India say it is not altruistic at all but a way to get them on Facebook and sign up for paid plans by unreliable cellphone carrier Reliance Communications. These concerns resonate with the Indian government who is considering making new law to govern free service. Internet.org has been rebranded and is now in 25 countries as Free Basics.
Here is the Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/26/technology/facebook-meets-skepticism-in-bid-to-expand-internet-in-india.html?_r=0
Questions: (1) Do you think Internet.org offers a way to partner humanitarian goals to profit motive? (2) Do you agree with Bill Gates that if Zuckerberg is in pursuit of humanitarian goals, partnering with others to rebuild or build infrastructure would better serve the 4 billion people in India? (3) Tech companies pushed by Wall Street have demands for growth outside of the U.S. so is it true or not that Facebook gets more than its share of the negative criticism? (4) If you were Facebook’s chief executive, would you have handled the entry into India and Project.org differently or in the same manner?