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A change of name to Free Basics doesn’t make Facebook’s Zero Rating service neutral

A few hours ago, Facebook carved out the Zero Rating part of its Internet.org package of services, and called it "Free Basics". This name is far less misleading than Internet.org, because the collection of sites that Facebook partners with are not the Internet, but we'll have to see if Reliance Communications stops advertising Internet.org as "FreeNet". This also doesn't change the fact that the service still violates Net Neutrality, and has other issues: 1. Supports Net Neutrality in the US, violates it in India: Facebook has signed the Internet Association’s amicus curiae brief supporting the FCC, stating “The open architecture of the Internet creates an innovation-without-permission ecosystem. Consumers (and consumers alone) decide the winners and losers on the open Internet.” However, the terms and conditions of Free Basics requires that developers get permission from Facebook and its partners. The terms and conditions that earlier mentioned that Facebook won't allow services that their telecom operator partners don't want has now been removed, but that doesn't mean that the being a part of Internet.org is permissionless. The terms and conditions now state: Submission does not guarantee that your site(s) will be made available through the Internet.org Platform." Facebook also reserves the right to rewrite URLs and remove javascript and content from other domains. The terms state: In order for your content to be proxied as described above, your URLs may be re-written and embedded content (like javascript and content originating from another domain) removed. In addition, secure content is not supported and may not…

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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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