Internet.org, Facebook's project to provide free internet to new users, is going to become a platform.
Internet.org becomes an open platform
This move comes amidst criticism of the program's approach to hand-picking services, and claims that it has violated the rules of net neutrality.
This move comes amidst criticism of the programs approach to hand-picking services, and claims that it has violated the rules of net neutrality.
Criticism of net neutrality has been prominent in India, where a zero rating program from Airtel, started the issue. This resulted in Facebook losing a number of partners in India, who withdrew from internet.org in response to the debate and that makes today’s announcement much more interesting.
“Our 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. To do this, we’re going to offer services through Internet.org in a way that’s more transparent and inclusive,” said Facebook in a blog post.
In addition, as per users, Facebook says that internet.org users will soon be able to venture beyond the initial limits of the portal and search for third party services and uses them too. This basically means that internet.org will go from being a static portal to a basic (free) layer of internet.
While it will be opened to all interested developers, there are three basic principles which the partners must abide by, according to Facebook:
— “Services should encourage the exploration of the broader internet wherever possible.”
— “Websites that require high-bandwidth will not be included. Services should not use VoIP, video, file transfer, high resolution photos, or high volume of photos.”
Facebook and its partners for internet.org have been said to taking a “king-maker” role by choosing which services are included in the free portal, and potentially promoted to millions of new users. This in turn gives selected companies a hand over their competitors – but opening up the portal changes that, at least on paper.
“We’re building an open platform, and anyone who meets these guidelines will be able to participate,” the social network added.
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