Microsoft India Criticizes Facebook’s Free Basics

bhaskar pramanik microsoft

2015 is going to be wrapped up in a few days, but there is something that 2016 too would witness. Any guesses? Well, if you thought net neutrality, you are right and if you thought internet.org, then also you stand right. Net Neutrality has been a topic of debate this year.

From media debates to ‘Save the internet’ petitions, net neutrality in a way became one of 2015’s hotly debated topics. Social media giant Facebook’s plan intenet.org or now rebranded as Free Basics too has generated a lot of controversy. Facebook’s plans of providing some internet services free of charge have been mired by controversies since the start.

Recently it had been asking its users to sign up for the support of its Free Basics campaign through one’s Facebook’s account. This methodology adopted by Facebook is also being debated heavily and has become a sort of an intense battle.

This intense battle has a new participant now, and that is – Microsoft. Microsoft India’s chairman, Bhaskar Pramanik has criticized Facebook’s Free Basics scheme and has said that characterizing it as compliant with net neutrality does not really make sense.

The Microsoft India boss feels that Facebook, through this scheme is helping first-time users to get on the internet and it is not that they are providing content on the basis of net neutrality.

These remarks by Mr. Pramanik would surely encourage the people who have been standing up against Facebook’s Free Basics scheme. These people who are not in favour of Free Basics believe that the social media giant’s scheme is not in compliance with the principle of net neutrality. The battle between Facebook and #SavetheInternet activists has been heating up in the past few days.

Facebook is planning to provide Facebook Messenger, Bing search, vernacular news providers and Wikipedia without any charge in the Free Basics scheme. And Mr. Pramanik has said that Microsoft supports Facebook’s intention, but it cannot be termed as a net neutrality thing and rather it can be considered a help to the new users, as it will help them in becoming regular users of the internet, thanks to the free provisions of services.

He believes that Internet should be free of constraints and also says that Facebook’s Free Basics scheme and net neutrality are two completely different things.

The solution to the issue of net neutrality would surely not be out very soon and with Facebook also determined on its Free Basics approach, this debate is surely going to go on and on.f