New Delhi: Amid the raging debate over net neutrality in India that prompted e-shopping company Flipkart to sever ties with Airtel Zero, travel site Cleartrip and TV news channel NDTV have pulled out of Facebook's Internet.org initiative.
The Times Group tweeted that they commit to quit the initiative too.
Facebook's partnership with Reliance Communications to provide free Internet access to 33 websites as part of its Internet.org initiative had raised eyebrows with activists saying that it violates net neutrality.
Cleartrip has been listed as the company to “check train and flight schedules & buy tickets”, and said its initial move was intended to help deliver its products to underserved parts of the country.
“Since there was absolutely zero money changing hands, we genuinely believed we were contributing to a social cause. But the recent debate around #NetNeutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach to Internet.org and the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast,” says a Cleartrip statement.
“So while our original intent was noble, it is impossible to pretend there is no conflict of interest (both real and perceived) in our decision to be a participant in Internet.org. In light of this, Cleartrip has withdrawn our association with and participation in Internet.org entirely,” it adds.
“NDTV is committed to net neutrality and is therefore exiting, and will not be a part of, Facebook's Internet.org initiative,” tweeted co-founder and co-chairman Pranoy Roy. “Times Group commits to withdraw from internet.org; appeals to fellow publishers to follow…” read a tweet from the organisation.
Internet.org states that it aims to bring 5 billion people online in partnership with tech giants like Samsung and Qualcomm. Launched as an initiative to improve internet access, Internet.org is a partnership the partnership between Facebook and seven mobile phone companies, the initiative has been launched in eight countries including India since August 2013.
Here's a look at all the participating sites in the group:
Aaj Tak: Read news in Hindi
AccuWeather: Get updated weather information
amarujala.com: Read news in Hindi
AP Speaks: Engage with local government
Babajob: Search for jobs
BabyCenter & MAMA: Learn about pregnancy and childcare
BBC News: Read news from around the world
Bing Search: Find information
Cleartrip: Check train and flight schedules & buy tickets
Daily Bhaskar: Read local news
Dictionary.com: Search for meanings of words
ESPN Cricinfo: Get cricket updates
Facebook: Communicate with friends and family
Facts for Life: Find health and hygiene information
Girl Effect: Read articles and tips for girls
HungamaPlay: Listen to music
IBNLive: Read news
iLearn: Learn from Women Entrepreneurs
India Today: Read local news
Internet Basics: Learn about the basics of the Internet
Jagran: Read local news
Jagran Josh: Get education and career information
Maalai Malar: Read news in Tamil
Maharashtra Times: Read news in Marathi
Malaria No More: Learn about malaria
manoramanews.com: Read local news
Messenger: Send messages to friends and family
NDTV: Read news
Newshunt: Read news in English
OLX: Buy and sell products and services
Reliance Astrology: Read your horoscope
Reuters Market Lite: Get farming and crop information
Socialblood: Register to donate blood
Times of India: Read news
TimesJobs: Search for jobs
Translator: Translate words and phrases
Wikipedia: Find information
wikiHow: Find information.