It is very reassuring to see the power of social media and internet, taking over this whole debate on Net Neutrality in India. The last few weeks have been amazing, and to see so many people raising their voices on various platforms on the web, makes you feel that these are probably the best times in the history of social communities, where every individual has an equal right to share their views for or against a particular cause. The power of Internet, hasn’t been more evident than in the last decade. The uprising in Egypt in the year 2011, is one of such important even which has changed the lives of the people there, forever.
I believe that this whole uprising in India for Net Neutrality, has already won half the battle, because many of the “partners” who signed up for these “Zero Rating” services (Airtel Zero and Internet.org), have backed out. This list includes big names like Flipkart, ClearTrip, NDTV and Time Of India group.
Recently, this whole debate got a new voice, when Mark Zuckerberg took to a famous Indian Daily called Hindustan Times, where he tried to defend Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, as some sort of world changing CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity.
What Mark is basically saying is the purpose of setting up internet.org is to provide “free internet” to the poor, so that they can leverage the benefits that “Internet” (through internet.org) has to offer. It sounds pretty good and noble, but the fact is that internet.org is not the whole Internet. It is primarily Facebook and a few hand-picked sites, which are identified by Facebook and its partners.
I see this whole definition of purpose as – “Internet.org provides free access to Facebook to the poor and under privileged so that they can leverage the benefits that Facebook has to offer.” Now does that sound noble to you?
Indian journalist Nikhil Pahwa responded to Mark’s post on Hindustan Times, and he elaborates on this whole misconception that these Telcos and companies like Facebook are trying to portray . It’s a definite read.
Image Courtsey: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com