DATA OVERLORD Mark Zuckerberg has reacted to fresh criticism from India about Facebook's Free Basics internet service that he wants to pour over the country, and has reportedly taken his toys and gone home with them.
Zuckerberg isn't keen on the backlash and can't comprehend why anyone would baulk at his plans for Free Basics, or Internet.org as it used to be known.
The latest volley of concern has proved too much for the man who eats what he shoots, and he has reportedly pulled the plug after a great whack of negative feedback. He is now, according to some reports, struggling to come to terms with the reaction of the people.
Some of those people are quite close to him, which won't help. NBC News reported that Zuckerberg was deeply upset by a suggestion from board member Marc Andreessen that Free Basics is a "new colonialism".
We would embed the quote, but Andreessen has deleted it. This is what you would have seen if we had been quicker to this: "Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?"
Knees have jerked, plans have changed, and Andreessen should probably expect some awkward lift journeys.
"Our goal with Free Basics is to bring more people online with an open, non-exclusive and free platform. 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," said a Facebook spokesman.
"We strongly reject the sentiments expressed by Marc Andreessen last night regarding India."
This has been a while coming. The plans have received a deeply negative response, including the sending of a critical open letter with some 60 significant signatories.
"We are deeply concerned that Internet.org has been misleadingly marketed as providing access to the full internet, when in fact it only provides access to a limited number of internet-connected services that are approved by Facebook and local ISPs," said the letter.
"Facebook, in its stated intentions to connect billions to the internet, should strongly support and advocate safeguarding the principle of net neutrality, privacy, security and other user rights in its discussions with national governments and regulators, while also applying these standards to its business initiatives." µ
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