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What Mark Zuckerberg didn’t say about Internet.org

When Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later today, he's likely to make a strong pitch for Internet for all, via Facebook backed Internet.org. Internet.org fits in well with the NDA governments "Digital India" mandate: Digital India is about making the Internet available to the masses, while with Internet.org, Zuckerberg made the pitch yesterday for making the Internet free for the masses. Sounds like a perfect fit, but it hardly is. What PM Modi and his advisors must take heed of, is that what Zuckerberg means by Internet for all, is essentially Facebook for all, along with a few non-profit services thrown in to give it the appearance of philanthropy, and maybe a few co-opted competitors to make it appear as if it isn't about Facebook only. Where Internet.org doesn't fit with the Modi governments mandate is that it essentially hinders the "Make in India" campaign. At a ridiculously carefully controlled press interaction in Delhi yesterday (the journalists asking the questions appeared to pre-selected, despite being told earlier that questions we submitted would be randomly selected), Zuckerberg didn't talk about: - Before a telecom operator gets a roster of services to choose from, how would core services be selected for the Internet.org app? - Under what circumstances are services going to be rejected for Internet.org? - Who exactly pays telecom operators for free Internet access and how are the rates paid to telcos decided? - Are the rates that telecom operators being paid…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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