Published On : Tue, May 5th, 2015

Facebook open internet.org to developers in the interest of net neutrality

 

net

In what could be seen as a response to the furore created in India over the issue of Net Neutrality, Facebook Inc opened up its Internet.org platform to new websites and applications from developers on Monday. This move Facebook feels would boost efforts to get people online in low-income and rural areas in emerging markets.

However, the nay sayers were still not satisfied. And the decision drew criticism from some online activists in India who expressed concern over Facebook’s control over all data accessed on the service and said it violated the principles of an open web.


Internet.org offers free access via mobile phones to pared-down web services, focused on job listings, agricultural information, healthcare and education, as well as Facebook’s own social network and messaging services.

It has been launched in nine countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, including India, bringing over 8 million people online, said Chris Daniels, vice president of product for Internet.org, who was in New Delhi to speak with partners and operators.

The platform will be open to all developers who meet certain guidelines, including that they produce content that can be browsed on both basic mobile phones as well as smartphones and is accessible in limited bandwidth situations, Facebook said.

Zuckerberg, in a video announcing the change, said the goal of the program remains giving people a limited number of basic services for health, education and jobs, for example, arguing this is not in conflict with net neutrality principles.
“Net neutrality should not prevent access. We need both,” he said.
“Our vision is to give people more access to free services over time.”
But he noted that access is offered as a partnership with local mobile operators, which agreed to offer certain services for free with an option to get the full Internet with a paid subscription.
“It’s not sustainable to offer the whole Internet for free,” he said. “No operator could afford this.”
Facebook said the platform however would be opened to any developer who met certain guidelines. Any apps must use data “very efficiently,” and should not include data-intensive services that use considerable bandwidth such as video or high-resolution photos.
The services will be free for any participating developer, Facebook said.