With reports of Flipkart joining ‘Airtel Zero’, users in favor of net neutrality are protesting against the e-commerce site. The brunt of these protests is being faced by Flipkart’s mobile app, which is being filled with negative reviews. This was first spotted by IndiaToday.
A number of users have given the Flipkart app only one star rating, and the reviews are based on net neutrality. Most of the reviews include headers like Net Neutrality matters or #NetNeutrality.
“Net neutrality matters I am not shopping from Flipkart again if they subscribe to Airtel zero. #ForNetNeutrality,” Saurabh Aditya writes. “Net neutrality matters. Flipkart is great, but so is net neutrality,” writes Parasmita Bhattacharjee. Pranav Sarwate writes, “Net neutrality matters. Sign up with Airtel and we sign you off. #netneutralitymatters.”
These are only some of the negative reviews. You can find more such reviews on the Flipkart mobile app listing on the Google Play Store.
Earlier this week, Airtel launched its ‘Airtel Zero’ platform, wherein users could access selected apps and services without incurring any data charges. While at first glance, the idea of incurring no data charges to access an app or a service sounds nice, the Airtel Zero platform is against the very fabric of net neutrality. In essence, users will be able to buy packs that offer free access to certain services, but accessing others will incur a charge. So if you buy a pack that includes access to YouTube, Flipkart, Facebook and Instagram, you will incur no data charge. But the moment you access any service like Snapchat or Reddit, you will have to pay for it.
Though Airtel hasn’t revealed what companies have joined the platform, there have been reports about Flipkart being on board. What haven’t helped either are Flipkart CEO Sachin Bansal’s comments on net neutrality. Though he supports net neutrality, he doesn’t think that the Airtel Zero initiative goes against its principles.
Bansal said that this initiative does not put small players at a disadvantage, but merely reduces the cost of data for the end users. He asserts that the telecom operators do not become kings, but only provide more options to consumers at the end.