Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. After a $19bn takeover by Facebook, mobile messaging service WhatsApp said it will launch free voice calls by mid-year. (Lluis Gene, AFP)
Mumbai – Facebook Chairman and founder Mark Zuckerberg made a personal appeal in an op-ed column in one of India’s leading newspapers for the country to allow a free internet service that has stirred controversy among competitors and questions from the country’s regulators.
Facebook’s proposed Free Basics plan will allow customers to access the Facebook social-networking site and other services such as education, healthcare, and employment listings from their phones without a data plan. Activists have opposed Free Basics because it would threaten the principles of net neutrality and change the pricing for access to different websites.
“This isn’t about Facebook’s commercial interests – there aren’t even any ads in the version of Facebook in Free Basics,” wrote Zuckerberg.
“If people lose access to free basic services they will simply lose access to the opportunities offered by the internet today.”