Today, 30 digital rights groups from around the globe released an open letter to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg decrying Facebook’s recent actions concerning the Free Basics program in India.
The letter cites Facebook’s troublesome language in petitions and newspaper ads in which it claims that “a small, vocal group of critics… demand that people pay equally to access all Internet services, even if that means one billion people can’t afford to access any services,” and that “unless you take action now, India could lose access to free basic Internet services, delaying progress towards digital equality for all Indians.”
The fact is, millions of internet users around the world — including in India — have stood up for strong Net Neutrality rules. Facebook’s claims are disingenuous, and ignore the forward-looking and considered calls for Net Neutrality from advocates in India.
“Facebook’s misguided language on Net Neutrality skirts the fact that millions have supported constructive, sustainable rules that would protect the open internet and chart a strong future for innovation in India,” said Raman Jit Singh Chima, Policy Director at Access Now.
“We’re disappointed that Facebook has been attacking Net Neutrality supporters in its quest to gain support for Free Basics,” said Josh Levy, Advocacy Director at Access Now. “As we all know, the internet is global. It’s vital that open internet supporters in the United States, Latin America, Africa, and beyond show solidarity with advocates in India. An attack on Net Neutrality in India is an attack on it everywhere.”