Facebook’s Free Basics service goes on hold

It is evident that you might have some knowledge about the Free Basics service that Facebook has been providing for the past few weeks by the aid of its telecom partner Reliance communications in India. The program was aimed to provide free Facebook to millions of users all around the country who are on Reliance network. Lately, Reliance has confirmed this program is on hold owing to a directive from TRAI.

The matter that concerns TRAI is that many small content providers would be at disadvantage because of the free availability of Facebook, while others would be charged. In this way, Facebook would have an added advantage while all the other platforms and content providers miss out on an opportunity to connect with the masses. While Facebook has very smartly identified the program as Free Basics, it seems it is a well-planned marketing strategy that puts all the others at bay while Facebook and its aides receive seamless exposure.

Facebook has also come under the scanner of various officials and individuals because of its aggressive and desperate move to get users to sign petitions in its support and address those to the TRAI, supporting digital equality. A lot of people have signed petitions supporting ‘Digital Equality’ in India, confusing it with ‘Net neutrality’ for which they might have signed a petition not long before, and not understanding how much different both of those programs actually are.

For the moment, the Free Basics service is stalled and it’s bound to make Facebook furious, but for those seeking net neutrality, it should come as a sigh of relief.

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