Facebook campaigns to defend ‘Free Basics’

December 23, 2015 10:53 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:38 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Facebook has started an aggressive campaign in India to gather public support for its free Internet platform ‘Free Basics’.

“Free Basics by Facebook is a first step to connecting one billion Indians to jobs, education, and opportunities online, and ultimately a better future. But Free Basics is at risk of being banned, slowing progress towards digital equality in India,” according to an advertisement on Free Basics, released by Facebook.

The Free Basics service, which has been in the midst of Net Neutrality debate, offers free access to a set of basic websites and services with the objective of introducing Internet to the people. When contacted, a Facebook spokesperson said: “This campaign gives people the opportunity to support digital equality in India. It lets people speak in support of the one billion people in India who remain unconnected, and lets them participate in the public debate that is being held by TRAI on differential pricing for data services. And it gives them the opportunity to support Free Basics.”

Facebook, whose users include top leaders of the world including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that in a recent representative poll 86 per cent of Indians supported Free Basics by Facebook and the idea that everyone deserves access to free basic Internet services.

Besides an online campaign to send an e-mail to regulator TRAI, Facebook continued with full-page advertisements in leading newspapers.

Its advertisement was also seen at public places which also shares a toll-free number where people can give a missed call to register their support for Free Basics.

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