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Mark Zuckerberg can’t believe India isn’t grateful for Facebook’s free internet

Mark Zuckerberg can’t believe India isn’t grateful for Facebook’s free internet

By Alice Truong for QT

All Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to do is make the world a better place for his new daughter. While he’s technically on paternity leave, he couldn’t sit idly by as India attempts to halt Internet.org, Facebook’s initiative to provide free but limited internet to the developing world.

Last week, the Times of India reported that the country’s telecom regulatory body had asked Facebook’s partner, wireless carrier Reliance, to cease the Internet.org service as it determines whether operators should be able to price their services based on content. Responding to criticisms of the program, Zuckerberg penned an op-ed published Dec. 28 in the English-language daily. In it, he expressed annoyance that India is debating net neutrality—a principle dictating that telecom operators provide people with equal access to the internet—as the country struggles to connect its citizens to the internet.

In the process of defending Internet.org, Zuckerberg paints India—where about a billion people are not connected to the internet—as backwards for even daring to question the benefits of Facebook’s charity-like endeavor.

“Who could possibly be against this?” he asks rhetorically. “Surprisingly, over the last year there’s been a big debate about this in India.”

Yes, net neutrality is a big deal—and not just in India. In the US, for example, an appeals court is currently examining the legality of a new set of net-neutrality rules enacted by the Federal Communications Commission this year. But Zuckerberg almost portrays net neutrality as a first-world problem that doesn’t apply to India because having some service is better than no service.

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