Facebook has rubbed India’s telecom regulator up the wrong way in its quest to provide free Internet.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in a letter published on Tuesday accused the social media company of turning a public debate on Net neutrality “into a crudely majoritarian and orchestrated opinion poll.”
The TRAI in December began a new round of collecting public opinion on Net neutrality, a hot topic in the country. In response to this, the Menlo Park, California-based company started its Save Free Basics campaign, which encouraged its users to send emails through their Facebook accounts to the TRAI and voice their support of the service.
Free Basics is a pet project of CEO Mark Zuckerberg that brings limited Internet use to those who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Originally launched as Internet.org, the service is available in over 30 countries. Though it may seem like a gesture of good will on the part of Facebook, many have expressed concern that the project, by offering only select apps and services rather than the entire Internet, violates the principle of Net neutrality.