Here’s Why Facebook’s Internet.org Is Crumbling in India
Friday, April 17, 2015
A group of Internet companies have withdrawn support from Internet.org, the buzzy Facebook-backed service that aims to bring people in developing countries online, following a backlash in India over net neutrality.
Businesses such as travel website Cleartrip, news channel New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) and the Times Group, a media company that owns Times of India, all yanked content from Internet.org in India, where they offered some of their content for free.
The move comes after a week or so of furious debate in the country over net neutrality, which basically maintains that all Internet traffic must be treated fairly and indiscriminately. Although net neutrality proved a hot-button issue when Internet.org first launched last October in India, the issue came to a head when Airtel, India’s largest telecomm company, drew fire from activists over its new Airtel Zero platform, which lets users access select mobile apps for free. (App makers covered the fees instead.)
Net neutrality activists launched an online grassroots campaign, including a massive letter-writing campaign to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, pressuring Flipkart — considered the Amazon of India — to pull out of Airtel Zero.