Facebook’s Internet.org is terrifying. It’s unfair. It’s not free, and it’s lying to people who are most vulnerable.
According to their website, “Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access.”
Which sounds pretty great. However, as The Times of India puts it,
“Internet.org puts Facebook and telcos in total control of what you access as they can reject services that don’t abide by their terms. This goes against the foundation of a free and democratic internet and makes the two entities big brothers. For instance, websites and services that offer voice calling or feature high-resolution images are prohibited. Telcos and Facebook also get to know what you’re accessing online.”
And it isn’t just India who’s questioning the motives of the Zukerberg Empire (well I mean… obviously everyone would question the motives of the maker of Facebook after watching the Social Network, but back on track…) A group of Colombian activists have pointed out that internet.org carries with it more harm than benefits. They also raise the common-sense point that contradicts Facebook’s ‘give to the poor to create equality’ argument.
“RedPaTodos, a coalition of Internet users in Colombia, adds that Internet.org will never be free as advertised because the cost will be paid by users with their personal data (amounting to more than 8 million Colombians, in the case of local partner Tigo.)”
Not to mention this new platform could lead to the end of privacy on the internet (cut-to shot of spooky mansion in a thunderstorm),
“Facebook’s Internet.org ‘participation guidelines‘ page points developers towards its “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities“, which clearly states that for content that is covered by Intellectual Property Rights, “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”
” Lest we forget: Facebook throttles content on its own platform, and this strengthens Facebook and Internet.org’s role in discovery. It appears that you’ll need a Facebook account for Internet.org: “We may collect and use your phone number to determine your eligibility to receive free services, to provide you with relevant offers and services from your operator and others, and to provide you with access to your Facebook account.””
Facebook doesn’t want to help developing nations gain access to the internet. They want to squeak in now like Internet-Missionaries to preach and provide their very specific, limited and highly monitored version of the internet before the people know that they can do better. And according to WIRED, this analogy might not be that far off when you think about how missionaries are equally famous for spreading disease and danger as they are their Words:
“Case in point: Internet.org could open up users to massive security holes and vulnerabilities. That’s because Facebook won’t allow participating sites to use SSL or TLS, two of the most commonly used security protocols that encrypt web traffic and protect users from online attacks. This single choice has the potential to undermine the security of millions of people worldwide.”
Internet.org sounds like going up to someone with no shoes and saying “here’s a free pair of shoes, but we’ll be watching every step you take while you wear them. Also, the insoles are made of broken glass. And while the shoes are free, the ground you walk on isn’t.”