Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has written a post on Facebook defending Internet.org, in which he says that it lowers the cost of internet access and drives awareness of its value.
His post comes two days after a number of Indian internet companies decided to withdraw their partnership with internet.org, to take a stand on the net neutrality debate.
Launched in early 2014, Internet.org provides free access to a limited number of websites and apps.
In his post, Zuckerberg writes that the service is accessible to 800 million people in 9 countries, and argues that net neutrality shouldn’t be used against economically disadvantaged people from gaining internet access.
In India, Facebook partnered with Reliance Communications to bring a total of 38 services to Internet.org in February - these included sites like Facebook, Bing and Wikipedia, Indian news and job websites, healthcare, childcare and weather services.
“The internet isn’t affordable to everyone, and in many places awareness of its value remains low. Women and the poor are most likely to be excluded and further disempowered by lack of connectivity.” Zuckerberg wrote.
“Internet.org lowers the cost of accessing the internet and raises the awareness of the internet’s value. It helps include everyone in the world’s opportunities.”
Zuckerberg is also responding to concerns raised Facebook users on the post. When asked by only a select bunch of websites are available on internet.org, he responded by saying that it is too expensive for mobile operators to make the whole internet free.
SaveTheInternet, a volunteer-run campaign has been fighting for net neutrality in India. All India Bakchod's video which was released on 11th April has seen over 2 million views. The website has sent over 7,50,000 emails in response to a TRAI consultation paper, which has a deadline of April 24th.
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