Thursday, 31 December 2015 | By: AbhiLaSH RuHeLa

Free Basics or Overcharged Prepaid Meter, Facebook?

1378th BLOG POST -->>


        Today, while I was walking across Inorbit Mall, Vashi, for my office, I found a big advertisement regarding Facebook's free basics on a hoarding which is owned by the mall itself. I was surprised to find the level at which the advertisement for this campaign is going on. I am already getting to see the ads on front few pages in newspapers almost daily. Facebook has inserted the same in our Notifications section of its site which makes a laymen click on it and approve his/her support for the same. Very rarely do we find any campaign in India being promoted so aggressively and forcibly entering into our lives and wanting to become a part of it. Also, Indians are been made fool openly and no one is realizing it. Everyone is thinking that "Facebook kuch kar raha hai toh mast hi hoga" just because Facebook has given people many special moments by connecting them with known and unknown people.    

           My mother is new to Facebook and as she isn't very well equipped with English language, she didn't understand that notification and ended up clicking on Yes which means she is now supporting Free Basics even without knowing what it is. This has been the plan of FB and therefore it is also advertising about the same almost every where so that people join it without knowing what exactly it is going to do which will change the way they surf Internet. I had submitted a Research paper on Net Neutrality in the final semester of my Post Graduation which makes it more difficult for me to avoid something which is trying to go against the concept of providing same kind of Internet access to everyone. 

            Free Basics is claiming that it will help India's poor and less-privileged class by providing them free Internet. It is also claiming that it is not going to earn anything from Free Basics and not going to charge anything from the people wanting to join with them. Facebook had tried to do the same last year with Internet.org. But because the people of India came together and sent 12 lakh messages to TRAI because of which it got banned in India. They have just changed the name of it and brought it back in India. Why India? Because they are wanting to compete against Google which is far ahead than what Facebook is in terms of monetary profit and only the population like India's can help achieve the target as quickly as possible. And because majority of Indians do not have attitude of going into depth before signing up for something, Facebook is trying to make most out of it. 

            With Free Basics, Facebook is going to own the way we Indians use our own bandwidth. And someone from foreign land controlling our whole accessibility of internet is violating the rule of Net neutrality. Facebook is going to give us a small part of land of Internet and make it freely accessible to us even if we are not wanting to surf those sites. If after that you would be wanting to access Google or Youtube or Drive, you would be asked to upgrade your Internet pack by paying extra bucks for every extra site. Even after having our own bandwidth, we are going to pay Mark Zuckerberg to access Internet. Not only this, all the websites that are included with Free Basics is going to capture our data and send it to Facebook. That means our privacy is also lost. 

             For every new user that joins Internet, Facebook earns Rs. 8 while Google earns Rs. 48. That's the difference and therefore, FB is trying to do everything to make sure that you access only Facebook and the websites which has paid to be part of Free Basics and not Google. I have myself earned a lot from Facebook and I am a great fan of this creativity and invention but I can't support it the way it is asking for. It's dictatorship and I don't think something as basic as Internet should be controlled by someone particularly. Indian govt is handling it in much better way by giving every mobile carrier rights to deliver Internet with no restrictions to people of India once they activate their GPRS services. Facebook is now fooling our government and wanting to take the charge and customize everything according to its profits and make us a puppet of its marketing gimmick. Nonetheless, the founder of WWW has himself written against Free Basics. I think that's enough for us to understand that its time to join hands, sign petitions and make sure this does not get implemented in India, a country which proudly boasts of democracy. 

 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!! 

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