New Delhi: Facebook's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg has spoken about his views on net neutrality amid reports that several Indian organisations have pulled out of Facebook-Reliance Communication joint service Internet.org.
He said that facebook's initiative Internet.org does not violate net neutrality and he wants to provide free internet access to the most disadvantaged people of the society through it.
In his article published in Hindustan Times, Zuckerberg talks about positive effects of internet in the rural India and what can be achieved through internet.
He Wrote, “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.”
Talking about the objective of Facebook's initiative Internet.org where the company has partnered with mobile operators to provide internet services, Zuckerberg wrote, “Internet.org lowers the cost of accessing the internet and raises awareness of the internet's value. It helps include everyone in the world's opportunities.”
Zuckerberg emphasised that internet.org provides free basic internet services to most of the users thus complementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India Initiative.
The Founder of the largest Social Media platform Facebook, Zuckerberg said that he and his company fully support net neutrality. “We fully support net neutrality. We want to keep the internet open. Net neutrality ensures network operators don't discriminate by limiting access to services you want to use. It's an essential part of the open internet, and we are fully committed to it,” he said.
Zuckerberg expressed his disagreement over the criticism that providing free services violates spirit of net neutrality.
“But some people have criticised the concept of zero-rating that allows Internet.org to deliver free basic internet services, saying that offering some services for free goes against the spirit of net neutrality. I strongly disagree with this,” Zuckerberg said.
He said that Internet.org promotes world connectivity and is not in conflict with net neutrality. He said, “These two principles - net neutrality and universal connectivity - can and must coexist.”
One of the youngest billionaire of the World, Zuckerberg said, “To give more people access to the internet, it is useful to offer some services for free. If you can't afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access and voice than none at all.”
Zuckerberg clarified that Internet.org does not block or throttle any other services, or create fast lanes. He added that the company is open to include all mobile operators in the initiative. Facebook is currently partnered with Reliance Communications for Internet.org.
He added that the arguments about net neutrality shouldn't be used to prevent the people who need free access to internet because of their economic situation.