While Facebook’s free service Internet.org faced criticism in India, it appears that the social network hasn’t given up on it yet. It has now decided to rebrand the product to ‘Free Basics by Facebook’.
The announcement was made at the Facebook Headquarters in Melno Park, California by Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org, in the presence of a small group of Indian journalists.
The app as well as web platform offers access to more than 250 services, which are now available in 19 countries across the globe including India. Free Basic users will also get access to 60 new free services. The announcement comes before PM Modi’s town hall meet with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the new campus.
Zuckerberg has also written a post stating how a soybean farmer from rural Maharashtra ‘makes better parenting decisions by accessing expert advice through the BabyCenter app for free through Internet.org.’
He further talks about the ‘improvements’ and the platform being ‘open to all developers’. “We’ve improved the security and privacy of Internet.org. We already encrypt information everywhere possible, and starting today Internet.org also supports secure HTTPS web services as well,” he added.
In India, the net neutrality debate and massive public outrage had made many take sides, and some big names like NDTV, Cleartrip and some properties of Times Group decided to part ways with Internet.org as a result.