Facebook Opens Internet.Org For Applications and Websites From Developers
The social media giant Facebook has opened Internet.Org platform for applications and websites from developers. Facebook revealed in a post that their goal with Internet.Org is to “work with as many developers and entrepreneurs as possible to extend the benefits of connectivity to diverse, local communities.”
The new initiative by Facebook was somewhat criticized by online activists, who expressed their concerns on how Facebook intents to control all data accessed on the service. Also, they believe Facebook’s approach is against the principles of an open web.
Internet.Org is offering users free access to pared-down web services via mobile devices, focusing on education, health care, agricultural information and Facebook’s own social network.
Facebook’s Internet.Org is being introduced in 9 countries including India and Africa. Its services will also be available in Asia and Latin America.
The platform is offered to all developers who meet a certain criteria. The most notable guideline is that they must be producing content that can be accessed through both regular phones and smartphones. On top of that, it should remain available in limited bandwidth situations.
Critics say that the initiative violates net neutrality, under which all websites over the Internet are supposed to be treated equally. Some say that the service could end up shifting the way Internet works.
According to Nikhil Pahwa, a pro-net neutrality campaign group savetheinternet.in volenteer:
Did we give unlimited free calls to people so that more people start making calls? So why this almost patronizing approach to the Internet. You’re effectively disadvantaging other companies and broader usage of the web.
On the other hand, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a video:
Access equals opportunity. Net neutrality should not prevent access. We need both, it’s not an equal Internet if the majority of people can’t participate.
Both sides have their own opinions on the matter but only time will tell how Internet.Org will impact the Internet and how it works.