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Facebook isn’t trying to take over the internet and doesn't oppose net neutrality, says Mark Zuckerberg as Indian tech firms quit his Internet.org initiative

BY ANDREW GRIFFIN

Published 18/04/2015

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hit out at criticism in a Facebook post, after a week where Indian publishers left the service in protest
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hit out at criticism in a Facebook post, after a week where Indian publishers left the service in protest

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has hit out at claims that his Internet.org initiative — aimed at getting everyone online but only offering certain services — is undermining the principle of net neutrality.

A group of Indian technology and internet companies this week quit the initiative, arguing that the way it restricts people to a certain set of sites undermines the idea that all of the web should be accessible to everyone.

Internet.org gives people access to the internet but only allows them to get to pre-selected web services, which include Zuckerberg’s Facebook as well as Wikipedia and news sites.

But Zuckerberg argued that it was better to give non-neutral access to the internet to some users than to let them have no access to the internet at all.

In a Facebook post published this morning, he wrote that “net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected. These two principles — universal connectivity and net neutrality — can and must coexist.

“To give more people access to the internet, it is useful to offer some service for free. If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all.

One of the key ways that net neutrality problems have arisen is from the idea of “fast lanes”, which slow down connections to certain sites or ask providers to pay extra for faster connections. Zuckerberg said that Internet.org would never institute such plans.

He accused critics of using arguments about net neutrality “to prevent the most disadvantaged people in society from gaining access or to deprive people of opportunity”.

Facebook and Zuckerberg’s Internet.org plan has been criticised for pushing people onto the social network to get access to the web. Many internet users are unable to differentiate between the site and the internet in general.

Further reading

Facebook will bring free internet to Europe, says Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook users sue site over data collection, demand compensation for privacy breaches

Facebook told to release documents

Facebook test flies solar-powered drones over the UK

Facebook 'tracks all visitors, even if they're not a member - breaching EU law'  

Independent News Service

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