There has been a lot of debate recently about Facebook’s zero-rate mobile service Free Basics. It has been criticized for being against the spirit of net neutrality and it was expected that India, one of the markets where this service is offered, will ban Free Basics. The country’s regulator has weighed in on the issue and decided to ban Facebook’s Free Basics and similar services.
Facebook is obviously not happy about this ruling and has issued a statement responding to the banning of Free Basics. The company says it will continue to work on improving and growing this service.
“Our goal with Free Basics is to bring more people online with an open, non-exclusive and free platform,” says Facebook, “While disappointed with the outcome, we will continue our efforts to eliminate barriers and give the unconnected an easier path to the internet and the opportunities it brings.”
The regulator notes in its ruling that the ban will be in place for two years but will remain open for review, Facebook can try tweaking the service and try getting the ban removed, but that will certainly take time.
There’s no way around the ban since companies that violate it will be fined around $750 per day, that might not mean much to a billion dollar corporation like Facebook, but it’s got to ensure that public opinion is on its side as it looks for ways to grow Free Basics particularly in emerging markets.
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