How Free Basics ( is Against Net Neutrality

Free Basics or Internet.Org has received flak from webosphere for a while now. It has been criticized and condemned for its anti net neutrality nature. Although the initiative was banned by TRAI, however, the company has been employing a marketing campaign so more people are its favor. Net Neutrality is that concept that has made Internet what it is: equal. Wikipedia defines it as follows:

“Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. It is one of the fundamental principle due to which Internet exists in the form we see today.
Free Basics, though, claims to be world-changing and generous it at its core opposes Net Neutrality. Roughly speaking, it won’t give equal importance to different websites; websites will be discriminated and only a handful or already-established sites will be given access to. Read on to understand it.

What is Free Basics(Internet.Org), exactly?

freebasics facebook thumb How Free Basics ( is Against Net NeutralityInternet(dot)Org or Free Basics, as named in , according to provides internet services to millions of people. They claim to have provided free internet services to a billion people across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The company behind the initiative introduce it as: “Free Basics makes the internet accessible to more people by providing them access to a range of free basic services like news, maternal health, travel, local jobs, sports, communication, and local government information.” An average Indian who is not much aware of the insides of Free Basics will more likely find it awesome, right? Plus.. Facebook changed the name from Internet.Org to Free Basics to market itself well in India. They clearly know that people are more likely to accept something with “free” in its name.

Why Free Basics is nightmare?

In Asia, internet growth is in its nascent stages; there is a huge untapped market. Facebook wants to exploit to as per its best interests apparently. Though they market the initiative as if its purely OK. It is not. It promises to give free internet services in areas without one, but what it fails to communicate and mislead us about is that it won’t let you access, The Hindu, TechCrunch or Mashable, it will be purely focused on providing free access for few selected sites like Facebook, Messenger, etc.

This way it opposes the philosophy of Net Neutrality, which clearly states that all pages must be treated equal. Because net neutrality is what gave the kind of internet we have today; Google, WhatsApp, Mashable, Quora, Klout and Dekho Geeko. Had it not been for Net Neutrality, the rise of blogging, informative websites by individuals and small businesses’ websites would not be as much as here as they are. All credits due to Net Neutrality; it has opposed to the discrimination of web pages and kept internet service providers from restricting users only to a few selected websites who pay them.

Suppose… if Free Basics (meaning access to Facebook’s Messenger for free across India) had been accepted in 2010, guess what? WhatsApp would not be here today! That is serious! You can see, it was only because Messenger and WhatsApp data charges are equal that the winner became one who’s innovative and with better product.

That is why Free Basics is nightmare! Because it is anti Net Neutrality. Right now, Free Basics is being marketed in the most misleading way ever. Just have a look at few of its advertisements:

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They make it look as if you’re doing a disservice to India by not supporting Free Basics.
facebook free basics ads 640x419 How Free Basics ( is Against Net Neutrality
Seriously FB? Digital Equality = FB?

What can you do about it?

Free Basics is banned right now by TRAI till 31st December. TRAI has asked for input by users; to decide the fate of said initiative.

Here is what you can do:

  • Go to Save the Internet! and send an email to TRAI opposing Free Basics
  • Tell your friends about the reality of Free Basics. It is entirely up to user’s input apparently; so the more people are aware about it, the better.
  • Share this article 🙂

The only reason we have so many startups, websites and small businesses making money online is because of net neutrality. Net neutrality has made the entry barrier low, anyone with technical know how and hard work can build a cool website or develop some software and make millions facilitating users, right? Had there been no net neutrality, only those who could afford to pay ISPs to let users access their sites would be successful.

Thank you, Net Neutrality.

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