We wrote not that long ago about the outcry stemming from Facebook’s Internet.org supposedly not following the principals of Net Neutrality. Yesterday, Zuckerburg put out a press release announcing that he is turning it into a platform and allowing everyone to participate – with a few very important caveats.
In spite of successfully launching in eight other countries, when Internet.org launched in India, people (mainly other Internet based organizations) were complaining that the dastardly individuals at Facebook were giving away Internet access for free. Galling, I know.
Zuckerberg has stated that anyone can participate in Internet.org and is launching a platform that will allow other organizations to create their own services. Participation will also be free, however, they must meet all three of the following guidelines:
- Explore the entire internet
- Basically, people can’t be limited to a certain area or website. If and when possible, people should have as much access as can be given by a service.
- Since the service providers involved aren’t charging the end user or the service provider, data transfer needs to stay anorexic. To that end, services are not allowed to involve VOIP, videos, file transfer, large images or any type of major bandwidth use.
This is pretty ingenious because it makes Facebook and Internet.org look like a totally willing and open participant without actually really having to give up anything. Sure, they had to create the platform and may have to add new services, but the new services could make Internet.org even more attractive.
On the other hand, any other providers that want to participate will need to jump through a variety of hoops, and they don’t really have a leg to stand on in terms of complaints. Sure, Zuckerberg has given them a laundry list of limitations, but he’s also got solid reasoning for those demands. In the meantime, Internet.org can continue as it has been.