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Facebook Continues to Progress with Its Internet.org Project

Puneet Sikka

Facebook's 2015 Growth: Analyzing the Key Drivers

(Continued from Prior Part)

Facebook launches Free Basics across India

Facebook (FB) has always marketed Internet.org, which is now called the “Free Basics” project, as a high-priority, long-term project. The project launched in August 2013 with a view to bringing affordable Internet access to everyone around the world. Facebook launched this project in collaboration with six mobile phone companies—Samsung, Ericsson (ERIC), MediaTek, Nokia, which is now owned by Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Opera Software, and Qualcomm (QCOM).

Facebook has now made the Free Basics project available in 31 countries, including emerging markets (EEM) like Africa and South East Asia and Latin America. Facebook recently announced that Free Basics will be available across India (EPI). According to Facebook, more than 1 million people in India now access Free Basics, which means they have access to some basic services on the Internet for free.

Is Facebook violating the net neutrality principle?

Facebook has been criticized in the past for giving preferential treatment to a handful of sites by allowing free access to users accessing Free Basics. Critics claim this service violates the net neutrality principle, which states that Internet service providers “should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.”

Whether Facebook violates net neutrality is up for debate, but Facebook is looking to grow the Free Basics service fast around the world.

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