Tech News

Is the backlash against Facebook’s free internet service valid?

Is the backlash against Facebook’s free internet service valid?

facebook backlash on internet 2015

The founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has recently faced a public onslaught culminating in an open letter from 65 advocacy organisations spanning 31 countries in response to a project called is an initiative that was set up by Facebook with the aim of providing Internet access to communities around the world that would not normally be able to afford such access.

Whilst the access is free it is not comprehensive and instead only provides users with access to a restricted portion of the Internet and the traffic created runs through Facebook owned proxy servers so that these restrictions can be maintained. There are currently a handful of sites that are available for use on the free Internet platform but Facebook are open to suggestions and new services and websites can be submitted for inclusion.

Of course Facebook is one of the sites that is available for use via the project and perhaps that is part of the reason why it has received negative press as it shows an ulterior motive from Facebook but in addition there are many useful sites that are made freely available by the project including Wikipedia which is a huge resource of online information in itself.

The argument from protestor’s centres around net neutrality and the fact that the Internet – in terms at least of the information that it contains – should be free and by introducing a platform where only some of it is available it paves the way for bias to be introduced and would potentially see information retrieval being controlled in a negative way.

mark zuckerbergs internet plan facing facebook backlash 2015

In addition to the issues that arrive with the restrictions in place there are also some concerns about the privacy of users who browse the internet via the project due to the fact that it does not use the same protocols for secure communications. In addition to this the fact that all of the traffic passes through servers owned by Facebook – a fact that doesn’t bode well in the eyes of those involved in the open letter against the project.

From Facebook’s point of view and certainly from Mark Zuckerberg’s point of view the ideas and believes behind the project are being misinterpreted – Mark protests that the project is in place to help people in countries with limited Internet access and to enable the people within those countries to achieve greater things through the power of the Internet and the resources that it can provide to them in terms of knowledge and communication.

Facebook say that they have plans to expand the project and the sites that are available and say that they have no interest in actively restricting Internet access for anyone but it is simply a matter of limited funds that dictates how many sites are made available under the project.

I can appreciate both sides of the argument – of course it is extremely important to maintain a freedom of information on the Internet as that is an intrinsic part of the World Wide Web and what makes it unlike any other resource available in the world. Having said that, it does seem futile arguing against the provision of limited Internet access when the alternative is no Internet access at all – surely no Internet access is worse than limited access.

In addition, whilst Facebook may well have some ulterior motives can we really blame them? They are in business to make money after all so it is understandable that they will have to have some form of vested Interest in the project. Although they are providing some good in the form of Internet access to those that could not normally have any at all – once again this small effort is surely better than no effort and it is certainly a lot more than other companies are doing to help those who have no Internet access. In fact perhaps the organisations that are protesting the venture could come up with and implement a better solution themselves.

Regardless of your standpoint on the matter of net neutrality and the morality of this project I am very much of the opinion that sometimes in life we have to withstand necessary evils in favour of the greater good and this project would fall into that category only in the worst case scenario.

Tech News

David is a practicing systems administrator by day at, but by night he lets loose all his tech expertise on our site.

More in Tech News

animal boxing game dx

What I’m Playing Now: Table Top Racing, Animal Boxing and Far Cry 4 still

Max SmithApril 22, 2017
samsung galaxy s8 gives you more of everything 2017 images

Samsung Galaxy S8 gives you more of everything

Jeffrey LangApril 20, 2017
snes classic mini coming for holiday season 2017

SNES Classic Mini: Nintendo’s Second Cash Cow or Frustrating Bull to Gore Fans?

Marius MaronillaApril 20, 2017
what im paying now far cry 4 zelda wind waker and sports champions 2017 images

What I’m Playing Now: Far Cry 4, Zelda Wind Waker and Sports Champions

Max SmithApril 19, 2017
Microsoft to Take on Chromebooks 2017 images

Microsoft to Take on Chromebooks

Marius MaronillaApril 19, 2017
cortana pi and minty pi 2017 images

Cortana Pi and Minty Pi

Marius MaronillaApril 18, 2017
nintendo feeds eight bit nostalgia with two bit decision on nes classic edition 2017 images

Nintendo feeds eight-bit nostalgia then kills it with two-bit decision

Marius MaronillaApril 17, 2017
austin russell luminar bringing safety to self driving cars 2017 images

Austin Russell’s Luminar bringing safety to self-driving cars

Jackie WarnerApril 13, 2017
hottest 50   60 televisions on any budget

Hottest 50″ – 60″ Televisions On Any Budget

Jeffrey LangApril 13, 2017

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

You will only receive one per day. You'll also get a free THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel with your subscription