Zuckerberg defends Internet.org initiative amidst #NetNeutrality debate

defends Internet.org initiative amidst #NetNeutrality debateIn the past week, there has been a lot of social outcry in India regarding Net Neutrality. It all started with Airtel coming up with a Zero Programme and Flipkart deciding to partner with it. However, on April 11, 2015, YouTube group AIB came up with a video explaining what Net Neutrality means and that the video went viral. Several celebrities took to their Twitter to save the cause and we had #SaveTheInternet trending for hours together.

The public backlash forced Flipkart to withdraw from this initiative and even Airtel came out with statements that its Zero initiative is not against Net Neutrality. In between all this, Flipkart and Airtel both manage to drag Facebook and RCOM’s FreeInternet.org and raise questions if this too was against the principles of Net Neutrality.

In a Hindustan Times column, Facebook’s CEO and Founder, shares a reply to the same and has said, “The Internet is one of the most powerful tools for economic and social progress. It gives people access to jobs, knowledge and opportunities. It gives voice to the voiceless in our society, and it connects people with vital resources for health and education. I believe everyone in the world deserves access to these opportunities.”

While talking specifically on why Internet.org was created, he said, “In many countries, however, there are big social and economic obstacles to connectivity. The Internet isn't affordable to everyone, and in many places awareness of its value remains low. Women and the poor are most likely to be excluded and further disempowered by lack of connectivity.”

Zuckerberg also mentions that currently over 600 million people in 8 countries can now access free basic services through Internet.org and that this step complements Prime Minister Narender Modi’s Digital India Initiative.


Coming to the sensitive topic of Net Neutrally, he stresses that he is full pro it. He furthermore adds, “Net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected. These two principles - Net Neutrality and universal connectivity - can and must coexist.”