Facebook's Internet.org lets any company join Zuckerberg’s free internet plan after net neutrality criticism

Company has drawn criticism for giving away the internet but only directing people through Facebook, but company has broadened the project out after criticism

Andrew Griffin
Monday 04 May 2015 12:22

Facebook is going to allow anyone to give away their internet services for free, in response to criticism that its Internet.org project to give people free internet was actually a way of getting people onto Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg has said that the initiative is intended to get people in poorer countries who are unable to get internet connections online. But critics have claimed that it is a way of pushing those people through his own social network, since the connection is restricted to Facebook and some other sites.

But now Internet.org has said that any company can join the project, as long as websites are built in a way that keeps them cheap to access.

Facebook said that the choice to limit the service initially was a pragmatic one, because the sites needed to be built to specifications so that they used data efficiently and didn’t require too much data. “But giving people more choice over the services they use is incredibly important and going forward, people using Internet.org will be able to search for and use services that meet these guidelines,” Facebook said in a post.

Internet.org outlined three principles that it says it will aim for while rolling out the project. People must be able to “explore the entire internet”, companies must build apps that use data efficiently so that the services can be given away free, and the sites must be built to certain technical specifications.

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