Stop Facebook Free Basics & Limited Access Policy:
Earlier this month, India’s telecom regulator TRAI released a consultation paper about zero-rating — a telecom industry jargon that stands for data that is subsidised for a user by an operator or a content maker. Who uses zero-rating? Free Basics, Facebook’s controversial programme to connect a billion Indians to the internet.
Free Basics is a Facebook app that gives users selective access to services like Facebook, communication, healthcare, education, job listings and farming information — all without data charges.
TRAI had invited comments from stakeholders — which includes users and mobile operators — on the issue, the deadline for which is today, December 30. Understandably, Facebook is rattled. The world’s largest social network has pulled out all stops and is spending millions of dollars on full-page newspaper ads, hoardings and an SMS campaign. Facebook vice presidents are also taking to Twitter and Reddit to directly engage with net neutrality activists leading up to the deadline.