Facebook’s Free Internet Backlash Grows

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OIOOn Monday, 65 advocacy organizations in 31 countries released an open letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg protesting Internet.org—an effort to bring free internet service to the developing world—saying the project “violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation.”

With Internet.org, Facebook is partnering with various wireless carriers and other organizations to provide an app that offers free access to certain internet services, including Facebook, on mobile phones in developing countries. But this spring, a group of publishers in India pulled out of the program, saying it violated the principles of net neutrality—the notion that internet providers should treat all online services equally.

Zuckerberg has defended the project, saying that it can “coexist” with net neutrality. “To give more people access to the internet, it is useful to offer some service for free,” he wrote in an April 16 post to Facebook. “If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all.” But today’s open letter argues that the limited access offered by Internet.org could lead to a new kind of digital divide.

Read more at WIRED