OpenMedia

Home of the pro-Internet community

Medium: Facebook’s Internet.org Numbers Just Aren’t Adding Up

Posted by Soledad Vega on Fri, 07/31/2015 - 09:48

A two-tiered Internet? We can do better. At the end of the day, Mark Zuckerberg’s controversial Internet[dot]org service only offers a slice of the internet, undermines security and privacy, and raises serious questions about how the program will impact local innovation. Speak out at NoFakeInternet.org/

Article by Joshua Levy for Medium

This week Facebook announced a new phase for Internet.org, an initiative that seeks to “connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access” — but which, in its current form, adversely impacts the security and privacy of people who use the program to go online.

To mark its first year of providing “free basic internet services” to people in Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, Zambia, and elsewhere, Facebook announced that it will cease striking exclusive deals with partner carriers in new countries. Instead, all operators are free to participate in the Internet.org program.

However, while Internet.org now welcomes more carriers, it remains a program with fundamental flaws that this expansion does not address. It continues to give users only a slice of the internet for free, undermines security and privacy, and raises serious questions about how the program will impact local innovation.

Facebook does cite impressive-sounding stats in its announcement. However, to be useful, data must be open and verifiable — and unfortunately these stats are opaque and confusing. For instance, Facebook claims that “Internet.org brings new users onto mobile networks on average over 50% faster after launching free basic services,” but the company does not clarify to whom or what the program is being compared. What is Internet.org 50% faster than?

- Read more at Medium