We are in the midst of an online revolution, and we do not even know it. A little hashtag, a few digital enthusiasts and a YouTube video by AIB was enough to shake the country up in support of net neutrality. Flipkart, who earlier defended Airtel Zero withdrew all ties, and Airtel itself is now believed to be at the brink of withdrawing its Airtel Zero initiative altogether. If that wasn’t enough, other big companies are also making their voice heard through social media by supporting net neutrality and sending a strong message to TRAI. A recent case in point is Cleartrip which today cut all ties with Facebook’s Internet.org and is standing with the online protestors in support of net neutrality. Also Read - iPhone SE gets cheaper on Flipkart only for today: Get over Rs 11,000 flat discountAlso Read - Best Airtel prepaid plans under Rs 500: High-speed data, free access to streaming services, and more
This is a significant move in the fight towards the cause, and testifies the implications if regulations are changed. If the announcement wasn’t enough, Cleartrip and Flipkart engaged in a heart-to-heart conversation. Here’s how it panned out: Also Read - iPhone 12 for iPhone 11 launch price at Flipkart Big Saving Days sale, iPhone 12 Mini alse sees discount
Even though this could just be Flipkart’s way to re-instate faith in its somewhat tarnished brand, the company’s app faced severe brunt on the Play Store after its announcement of tie-up with Airtel. Users gave it poor rating and subjected the app to poor reviews.
Cleartrip justifies its backtrack with utmost honesty. While partnering Facebook, the company thought that it was making a rather philanthropic move, as no money was exchanged between two parties. They thought they were serving to an undeserved part of the country, and saw no wrong in that. However, in the wake of recent events, the company feels that taking a stand is important and thereby severed all ties with Internet.org.
Here’s Cleartrip’s full statement. Let us know what you think below:
At various points in time, we have been questioned about our stance on Net Neutrality is. We d like to take the opportunity today to clarify our stance and take a stand.
If Cleartrip supports Net Neutrality, then one might legitimately ask why Cleartrip chose to participate in the Indian launch of Internet.org.
Here s why: a few weeks back, Facebook reached out and asked us to participate in the Internet.org initiative with the intention of helping us deliver one of our most affordable products to the more underserved parts of the country. There was no revenue arrangement between us and Internet.org or any of its participants we were neither paid anything, nor did we pay anything to participate. Additionally we don t make any money out of that product. Since there was absolutely zero money changing hands, we genuinely believed we were contributing to a social cause.
But the recent debate around #NetNeutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach to Internet.org and the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast. What started off with providing a simple search service has us now concerned with influencing customer decision-making by forcing options on them, something that is against our core DNA.
So while our original intent was noble, it is impossible to pretend there is no conflict of interest (both real and perceived) in our decision to be a participant in Internet.org. In light of this, Cleartrip has withdrawn our association with and participation in Internet.org entirely.
We believe that the Internet is a great leveller and that freedom of the Internet is critical for innovation. Cleartrip is and always will be a fully committed supporter of #NetNeutrality.