Facebook has launched an open platform through which developers can tailor their services for Internet.org, giving millions of users across the globe the ability to enjoy basic Internet services for free.
Facebook’s Internet.org initiative faced a severe backlash in India, with several companies based out of the country withdrawing from the platform citing net neutrality violations. Essentially, Facebook was found to favor certain carriers — in this case Reliance — and services over others, leading media houses such as NDTV and Times Group to pull out of the initiative altogether.
The social network is now looking to make amends by launching an open platform that will allow developers to integrate their services into Internet.org. CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that Facebook will enter into “non-exclusive partnerships” with carriers to deliver free basic services for free, and that the social network will be more “transparent and inclusive” in how it handles these services through Internet.org:
These websites are very simple and data efficient, so operators can offer these for free in an economically sustainable way. Websites do not pay to be included, and operators don’t charge developers for the data people use for their services.
Because these services have to be specially built to these specifications, we started by offering just a few. But giving people more choice over the services they use is incredibly important and going forward, people using Internet.org will be able to search for and use services that meet these guidelines.
Facebook is encouraging developers to create easily accessible and efficient websites that will be compatible with “feature and smartphones and in limited bandwidth scenarios.”