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Facebook's Internet.org Renamed 'Free Basics': What, Why And How- All You Need To Know

NEWS WORLD INDIA | 0
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| September 25 , 2015 , 08:10 IST
facebook-internet-org-Free-Basics Facebook has announced a new name for the internet.org mobile website and app - FreeBasics. Facebook, facing criticism from some quarters in India for its Internet.org service, has also opened up its free Internet platform to all developers. Repositioning its internet.org initiative as a larger umbrella to service the needs of 4.4 billion unconnected people in the world, Facebook has rolled out 60 new free services on the platform.
The app and web platform, providing access to over 250 services, is now live in 19 countries including India and will be part of the larger objectives of Internet.org.
Developers will be free to add their apps on the platform as long as they meet the technical criteria.
Chris Daniels, vice-president of Internet.org, said the idea was to create a differentiation from the wider objectives of Internet.org. “We want to give people access to a few free basics services on the Internet and we know they will quickly understand the value of the Internet,” he said during an interaction at Facebook’s new office in Menlo Park.
The announcement comes days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s town hall with Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the sprawling new campus.
"We want people to see internet.org the way we see it - as a digital literacy tool and not the destination. The objective is to introduce people to the internet for them to taste the value therein and migrate to paid plans if they deem fit" says Chris Daniels, vice president, internet.org.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook has “listened to feedback from the community” and made “significant improvements to Internet.org” in a post few hours before the announcement. “Connectivity is not and end in itself. It is what they do with it that matters…,” he wrote in the post, which cited the example of Asif Mujhawar, a soybean farmer in rural Maharashtra. [fb_pe url="https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10102388939996891?pnref=story" bottom="30"]
Since its launch India this May, Internet.org had come in for criticism for being a “walled garden” for its limited number of partners and single service provider. Daniels said the Free Basics was open to all developers and there was no intention of putting a filter on it.
Among the new features in the FreeBasics app is the option for users on the app or the mobile web version to add the services which they want to add to their list of free services from the list of 250 plus partners.
The mobile web version will also support the secure HTTPS services from now on. Facebook has also put out the privacy language “so that people will know what data will be collected.”