Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has written a scathing blog post in response to critics who claim that internet.org doesn’t follow net neutrality guidelines.
Internet.org was founded to provide basic Internet services to lower income areas of the world. This is accomplished through the partnerships between various mobile operators and governments.
“The Internet is one of the most powerful tools for economic and social progress. It gives people access to jobs, knowledge and opportunities,” Zuckerberg wrote in the post. “It gives voice to the voiceless in our society, and it connects people with vital resources for health and education.”
However, critics of the initiative have insisted that it goes against the basic principles of net neutrality. They argue that the site’s “zero-rating,” policy, in which telecom companies agree not to charge the consumers for data handling, is unfair to mobile companies who aren’t signed up with Internet.org. These providers don’t get access to the millions of low-income users.
Still, Zuckerberg argues that this is a non-issue, as all web publishers and app providers are welcome to join Internet.com.
“We’re open for all mobile operators and we’re not stopping anyone from joining. We want as many internet providers to join so as many people as possible can be connected,” he wrote. “Arguments about net neutrality shouldn’t be used to prevent the most disadvantaged people in society from gaining access or to deprive people of opportunity.”
Internet.org is currently used by more than 800 million people in nine counties.
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