Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday said his firm is working on an open framework and continues to ‘lobby’ for net neutrality even as its plan to provide free Internet access to people under Free Basics program faces criticism.
“We do a lot to support (net neutrality) in terms of regulations, we are working on building an open framework…” Zucerkerbg said, while speaking at Townhall at IIT- Delhi. “We lobby for it (net neutrality) across the world but at the same time, we continue to push for access.” he added.
Facebook’s Internet.org platform, which was recently re-branded as Free Basics, has come under fire from Internet activists for violating the principle of net neutrality that is against any priority being accorded to an entity in Internet traffic flow on account of payments to service providers like telecom companies. Talking about its controversial Free Basics program, the young billionaire said the company has been lobbying for net neutrality across the world.
“You can’t not provide the whole Internet for free and we are not bringing a filter to any content that goes in it (in Free Basics). We need to get people on to the Internet,” he added. Zuckerberg further said: “Internet.org is live in more than 24 countries and 15 million people have access to Internet now with Internet.org. That’s a pretty good number…
Almost 1 million people in India have access to Internet (through Internet.org).” he said. Highlighting the importance of the Indian market for the world’s largest social media firm, he said the country plays a huge role in its “mission of connecting a billion people” to the Internet. “When you have a mission of connecting a billion people, you cannot do it without India,” Zuckerberg said. India is the second largest user-base for Facebook after the US with 130 million users, he added.
Facebook has 1.3 billion users globally. “India is the world’s largest democracy and we have 130 million users here. Its a mission for us to help provide access to Internet,” he said.
This is Zuckerberg’s second visit to India.