So what’s the big fuss about this Free Basics that everyone’s been talking about? Why are all newspapers and hoardings carrying ads propagating Free Basics sponsored by Facebook? Well, there’s a bunch of half truths and whole lies circulating the internet and we’ve attempted to demystify it for you.
Here are 5 Things You Must Know About Free Basics to consider and analyze before you get swayed by that Facebook notification a.k.a. herd’s syndrome.
1. There’s no Ad-free world! While Facebook mentions that Free Basics doesn’t have ads, it doesn’t mention that it won’t have ads forever. Free Basics is not listed under any NGO subsidiary or CSR initiative of Facebook, instead is a part of the main business – must we say anymore?
2. Facebook is not paying for Free Basics – It’s the telecom operators who are. And where will the telecom operators recover that money from? YOU! This reduces the chances of lowered costs of paid internet services, in the long run affecting YOU!
3. Free Basics goes against Net Neutrality – There is no level playing field, Facebook defines the guidelines of Free Basics and has the right to accept or reject applicants and partners. This in itself goes against the premise of net neutrality.
4. Give me your data! Facebook will get access to all the data usage patterns of sites on Free Basics which means competitors will naturally refrain from getting on, giving Facebook complete monopoly. Facebook is known to provide data to the National Security Agency (NSA) which is a security threat to India.
5. Misleading information – Facebook claims that 3.2 million people have signed the Free Basics petition and ‘accidentally’ allowed users in UK and US to sign the petition on behalf of Indians. That’s like Indian citizens voting for Donald Trump as the President of the United States (that would be fun)!
Do you have a difference of opinion? We’d love to hear from you.