Marc Andreessen, investor and member of Facebook board, criticizes India's TRAI verdict

We felt we had enough of Facebook and the Free Basics debate in India. First it was internet.org, which got transformed to Free Basics. That was supposed to be a means on bring the unconnected billion people online. Despite such a noble background, there has been stiff opposition to it in India.

We felt we had enough of Facebook and the Free Basics debate in India. First it was internet.org, which got transformed to Free Basics. That was supposed to be a means on bringing the unconnected billion people online. Despite such a noble background, there has been stiff opposition to it in India.

Even globally, voices such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web spoke against Facebook for pushing Free Basics. In fact, he also congratulated India for standing up for an open web.

https://twitter.com/timberners_lee/status/696728030916513792

However, Marc Andreessen, well-known investor from the Silicon Valley and co-founder and general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has hit out at Indian authorities for blocking Free Basics.

Just before we get into what Andreessen commented, it is worth noting that he’s also an investor in Facebook and sits on the board of Facebook.

Marc Andreessen, investor and member of Facebook board, criticizes Indias TRAI verdict

According to the Investor Relations page on Facebook, Andreessen has been serving on the board of directors of Facebook since June 2008. Andreessen, who is known as the creator of the early Netscape Navigator web browser is also on the board of eBay, HP and several other technology companies. In short, a well regarded voice in the Silicon Valley.

As an investor and member of the board of directors at Facebook, it must be difficult for him to see Facebook’s audience capping at 1.18 billion monthly active users. The best way to scale up activity among Facebook's audience would be to tap into high potential markets such as China and India. With the Great (Fire)wall of China, the obvious option is India and the thriving marketplace. But, alas, TRAI just watered down efforts by Facebook with Free Basics being blocked in India.

In a tweet earlier, he expressed his displeasure by claiming that blocking Free Basics on 'ideological reasons' was morally wrong.

https://twitter.com/pmarca/status/697226616812900352

Users quickly latched on to the conversation, a few in support and some against.

https://twitter.com/SMB06/status/697250831939141632

https://twitter.com/svickram/status/697250684958158848

Essentially, the responsibility of providing access to faster internet lies with the government of the day. Corporations can play a participative role, but it can't be the sole responsibility of a corporation the size of Facebook to provide internet access.

You think we were too harsh on the outburst by Andreessen, well there's also a couple of tweets that he deleted as the debate picked up steam.

marc andreesen tweet 1

Anti-colonialism? That seemed a bit far-fetched, but probably the underlying sentiment around investments and the scope for growth would hurt.

marc andreesen tweet 2

Then comes the next tweet that he withdraws from all future discussions on Indian economics or politics.

Hopefully, Facebook will see far beyond the low hanging fruit in increasing its user base and work closely with authorities across geographies to ensure a smoother and better user experience.

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