The public-spirited effort to bringing internet access to impoverished designed by Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, is being called into question. Mr Zuckerberg wants to disrupt internet access in developing countries. He wants people to have free access to data on their phones and an Internet on-ramp to help them decide what to do with that data.
The project is called internet.org. Facebook has teamed up with companies such as Samsung, Qualcomm, Media Tek, Nokia and Ericsson. The project kicked off in 2014 in Zambian South Africa. It quickly added Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Columbia and India. It recently added Southeast African Malawi one of the poorest countries in the world.
The issue concerns “zero-rating” websites. A zero-rating site is one that is free to the user and paid for by subsidies. Facebook has so far included such sites as Amazon Kindle and Spotify. This action has opponents calling Facebook a kingmaker since these zero-rated sites are the ones most likely to be used by clients of Internet.org. Click here for full story.
Since these objections have been expressed Mr. Zuckerberg has opened the area. Now any site that meets Facebook standard may sign up for a zero rating, and a ton of iPhone applications are interested.