Post TRAI verdict Facebook shuts down Free Basics for India

After a persistent debate on Free Basics, we read more on the topic yesterday when Silicon Valley investor and member of the Board of Directors at Facebook, Marc Andreessen criticised India's opposition to Facebook's offering.

After a persistent debate on Free Basics, we read more on the topic yesterday when Silicon Valley investor and member of the Board of Directors at Facebook, Marc Andreessen criticised India's opposition to Facebook's offering. He went to the extent of comparing the opposition to anti-colonialism which wasn't taken too well by Indian netizens.

The series of tweets and the resulting outrage prompted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to put up a post on his Facebook page dissociating from Andreessen's views. He termed the comments as 'deeply upsetting and doesn't represent the way Facebook or I think at all.'

In view of the raging debate on social media, we reached out to users on Twitter to get a feel of the popular sentiment.

https://twitter.com/tech2eets/status/697650252329910273

We received close to 400 votes in the first hour of the poll. 82 percent of the votes said it was time Facebook wound up Free Basics. Approximately 80 votes or 18 percent of the votes seemed to suggest that Free Basics by Facebook deserved a second chance.

Post TRAI verdict Facebook shuts down Free Basics for India

Meanwhile, a Facebook spokesperson told Firstpost that "Free Basics is no longer available to people in India."

Recently, TRAI had banned the concept of Free Basics, or differentiation by telecom operators on the basis of content. Non-compliance with the announcement could result in a heavy penalty.

Given the vast user base in India, the stand taken by TRAI is a significant setback for Facebook, which had changed the internet.org campaign to Free Basics to position it as a noble idea of connecting a billion users around the world who have no access to Internet.

Stiff opposition from activist groups in India and across the globe as well as opposition by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the world wide web resulted in a public debate on the subject. The result was an immediate ban on Free Basics.

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