Facebook is currently the leading provider of social networking services, boasting a user base of more than 1.5 billion people from all over the world.
The company is currently enjoying a period of financial success thanks to the huge success its products are also seeing in the market. As a result, Mark Zuckerberg and his establishment have grown to be somewhat invincible. In a bid to become the first social networking company to hit 5 billion users, Facebook has been on a spree of offerings. Through its Internet.org program, the company launched Free Basics – a service aimed at providing billions across the globe with free access to internet services.
India says no to Facebook
It seems Facebook’s vision of reaching 5 billion users by 2030 have taken a huge twist. Just recently, the company was blocked from proceeding with its Free Basics offering in India – a market believed to be one of the best and most promising for the company. India’s telecommunications regulator shot down the service, citing a violation of net neutrality. This is not the best news for Facebook and its Free Basics service.
With this free internet program, it meant that consumers can access Facebook’s services in addition to a few other essentials. However, they must pay when it comes to accessing other services not offered in the free package. This is where trouble comes in.
Here, there are two sides: one side argues that Facebook is asking its users to pay if they want to access more regular cellular services. On the other hand, the argument is that Facebook is using its financial power to pay for services it prefers its consumers to access, something that is viewed as a violation of net neutrality.
India is not the only region that Free Basics had reached. In fact, the service is currently available in over 38 countries across the globe. However, consumers and regulators from some of these countries have also been critical about this service.
A big blow for Facebook
Facebook is aware that developing countries have huge, unexploited markets. With the power of the internet and spreading know-how in the world of technology, the social network was positive that its free offerings will help its services available to all of these persons.
With the problems this company is facing in India, it is definitely a huge blow for the most popular social networking platform. As mentioned earlier, Facebook has plans to reach 5 billion users by 2030. With Free Basics being a major player in this ambitious goal, the sharp criticism facing the service will mean Facebook reshapes its plans. India has 130 million Facebook users but there are 900 million others without access to the internet.