Marc Andreessen, a leading Silicon Valley figure, the founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz and a member on Facebook's board of directors, has sparked off a wave of protests online after he suggested that anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for India. He deleted the tweet shortly afterwards.
Andreessen has been a key figure in a the tech industry from several years. He was the co-founder of the company which founded Netscape Navigator. Later on, he founded Andreessen-Horowitz VC firm with his long-time business partner Ben Horowitz. The firm has invested in a lot of high-profile start-ups like Facebook, GitHub, Pinterest and Twitter.
The debate was sparked when Andreessen said that it is morally wrong to deny the poorest the right of accessing the Internet. His tweet was related to Indian telecom authority's decision to prohibit any differentially priced tariff plan or zero rated plans. That meant programs like Facebook's free basics would not be allowed to operate in India.
— Vikram Chachra (@lemonandice) February 10, 2016
Ben Evans, a tech blogger, and analyst at Andreessen-Horowitz, said that from 1947 India's growth has been slow because of misguided government policy. But how they clubbed India's post-independence economic growth rate to the anti-colonial movement that led to India's independence from the British in 1947 is unclear. Silicon Valley is often criticised for being blind to cultural sensitivities of the customers of their mammoth tech products and networks and Andreessen's comment will go into history as a textbook case.
Later, Andreessen retracted saying he opposed to colonialism in any country.
And for the record, I am opposed to colonialism, in any country. https://t.co/3ommgZssMm— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016
A lot of Indian Twitter users reacted to this tweet by offering various responses.
Meanwhile, users on reddit India has started discussing the tweet and Marc Andreessen in a thread.