Digital

Facebook’s Rebuttal to Mahesh Murthy on Free Basics, with Replies

Note: 2015 will undoubtedly go down as the year during which important debates regarding net neutrality, India’s technology industry and the country’s Internet ecosystem were settled. The last year has seen zero-rating, the controversial practice by which mobile network operators refuse to charge for data used by specific Internet applications, become a major source of criticism and discussion, with net neutrality activists pointing out that it reduces competition, distorts the free market and allows major technology companies to play kingmaker in the Indian Internet space.

One of the more controversial zero-rating initiatives includes Facebook’s Free Basics – a suite of Internet applications that are packaged together by Reliance Communications in India and given  free to the telecom operator’s users. While the exact legal status of Free Basics and other similar initiatives still remains murky, with telecom regulator TRAI in the middle of its regulatory process, Facebook has embarked on a massive advertisement campaign in favour of its Free Basics service. In the last few weeks, the Silicon Valley-based company has conducted polls, lobbied with industry executives and published its arguments in the public sphere.

Indian venture capitalist Mahesh Murthy recently wrote a piece, which was republished in The Wire last week, that took a critical look at some of Facebook’s claims regarding Free Basics. In the piece below, we publish Facebook’s replies to the original article as well as Murthy’s responses. We believe that the debate between them is emblematic of the larger net neutrality concerns that plague India. 

Mark Zuckerberg on stage at Facebook's F8 Developers Conference 2015. Credit: pestoverde/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Mark Zuckerberg on stage at Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference 2015. Credit: pestoverde/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

FACEBOOK’S ADVERTISEMENT CLAIM: Any developer can have their content on Free Basics. Nearly 800 developers have signed up their support for Free Basics

MAHESH WRITES (ORIGINAL ARTICLE): Who said they can’t? But the big sites don’t. They don’t want Facebook to own their customers, and they don’t want Facebook to snoop on their customer data, because all traffic goes via Facebook servers. Data is cheap enough in India and eventually everybody will be on the full and open internet, given time. Or our government could offer a neutral and free internet service to its citizens. There are other solutions to getting the poor online. Selling our people to Facebook doesn’t need to be one.

FACEBOOK SAYS: It is false that big sites do not participate in Free Basics. Many large sites participate in Free Basics including India Today, Network 18, Accuweather, BBC, Bing and literally hundreds more around the globe. In addition, we think it is great that small sites and big sites both participate.  The concern of net neutrality activists with our original program was that small sites would be locked out. We listened and responded to that concern, so we opened the platform and we’ve been thrilled that small sites have chosen to be a part of the program.  Regarding your privacy concerns, we do not keep any customer personally identifiable information (PII) past 90 days.

And we only keep it for the first 90 days to ensure we zero rate the appropriate traffic and to improve the user experience. Finally, accelerating internet adoption is good for the whole ecosystem and is what this program does. A lot of the above assertions are covered at the following link for your reference.

MAHESH’S RESPONSE: Only two of India’s top 40 sites, as ranked by Alexa, are in the list of Free Basics sites released by Facebook – and one of those is Facebook itself. The other is Wikipedia. The rest are sites that range from a number 43 at best to a number 1 million plus ranked at the worst.

To make it clearer let’s tell you what the people of India will NOT find on Free Basics: no Google. No YouTube. No Amazon. No Flipkart. No Yahoo. No LinkedIn. No Twitter. No Snapdeal. No HDFC. No ICICI. No PayTM. No eBay. No IRCTC. No NDTV. No Rediff. No Quora. No Quikr. No RedBus. No BSE. No NSE. And the list goes on. It’s clear: the “Basics” of the Indian internet are not on Free “Basics.” Just like Internet dot Org was neither Internet nor Dot Org, Free Basics is neither Free, nor is it the basics.

Now to the point about privacy. What’s interesting is this – that even when the user goes to Bing to search – her bits and bytes go via Facebook servers – so they know what you’re searching for. Look for an article on India Today, and Facebook knows that too. These sites, in effect, have handed over your profile and personally identifiable data to Facebook.

Facebook claims – and we’ll re-visit this in Point 10 – that they are not currently selling ads at this audience. But they clearly reserve the right to do so in the future. They say they are currently keeping your data for just 90 days, but first – there’s no one to audit Facebook, and second even if it is for just 90 minutes – that’s a lot of time for a lot of ads – you’ve handed over your data to the largest reseller of personal profiles in the world.

Basically, the wolf is saying, trust me, I’m guarding the sheep.


FACEBOOK’S ADVERTISEMENT CLAIM: It is not a walled garden. 40% of our users go on to access and pay for the full Internet within 30 days. In the same time period, 8 times more people are paying versus staying on just the free services.

 MAHESH WRITES (ORIGINAL ARTICLE): Which means 60% of their users are stuck in Facebook jail. Why should even one Indian citizen be? The internet should be open for all our people, or the net should be neutral as we say, especially on public property, which the wireless spectrum is.

FACEBOOK SAYS: Here’s the simple math that we’ve released: 40% of people who start their online journey at Free Basics go on to access the full internet within 30 days. Eight times more people have gone on to access the internet as stay on only using Free Basics.  That means that 5% are using only free services. 55% have churned which is a pretty typical number for any new service that people use. So actually, of people who use the service, the vast majority is off to use the entire internet. We’ll always work hard to get the 55% to use to the entire internet, but we’re happy with how this is working so far. For the 5%, we hope that they’re using the tools to access health information, communicate with people, or find a job. We think it is good that they can at least access this information and do it for free.

MAHESH’S RESPONSE: There’s lies, Facebook statements and statistics. There’s no “simple math” in the fancy footwork of words Facebook is using. Let’s simplify all of this to Facebook and Reliance’s own declared data and real numbers. As of October, about 1 million people had logged on to Free Basics.

Of these, about 80% by Facebook’s own admission were already users of the full internet who dropped in to try the offering of free data. They’re not, as Facebook puts it “people who started their online journey on Free Basics”. That leaves around 200,000 people who were newbies who actually came on board. Of these, 80,000 or 40% went on to the full internet, and the rest 60%, that is 120,000, were locked in the Facebook walled garden.

And of the 120,000 who were locked in the walled garden, almost all of them: 110,000 dropped out and never came back again (the 55% of 200,000 who have “churned”) – perhaps disappointed with what they saw there. And 10,000 continue to remain locked in there.

(Again this is my personal read from all the dibs and dabs of data Facebook and Reliance have revealed. They’ve never shared any real numbers – and one has to read deep between the lines to try make out what they’re trying to say – or not say. I could be wrong, and if I am, I hope Facebook can come and correct me with the right data. The data above is my best guess.)  Now here’s the irony. Facebook, by industry estimates, has spent over Rs. 100 crores on this advertising, PR, lobbying, Narendra Modi hugging and diplomacy effort.

If they’d simply put that money sponsoring, say the first 100MB a month at 2G speeds for new users of the full internet, that would have barely cost Rs. 200 a year, per person at current published pre-paid top-up rates of many mobile carriers. In effect, the same spend from Facebook could have given 5 million Indians full internet access for a year. Instead of these 50 lakh new Internet users from India, what it’s gotten them instead is 10,000 people locked in their walled garden and 110,000 people who don’t want to go online again, even to the free Facebook offering. And a net of 80,000 people who went online to pay for full internet access from their own pockets.

If I was the Facebook CFO, I’d be asking some tough questions indeed. Meanwhile, you, dear reader can take a shot and telling us tell us which of these routes actually “brings the benefit of going online” to the poor and the unconnected.


FACEBOOK’S ADVERTISEMENT CLAIM: Free Basics is growing and popular in 36 countries, which have welcomed the program with open arms and seen enormous benefits.

MAHESH WRITES: This is a lie. This scam may have been pushed through in these poor, mostly helpless African nations who have no experience of anything better, like we have, and who have no ‘activists’ like us who tell their governments they’re raising a generation of deprived children with no access to the real internet. Also, tellingly, the more online-progressive countries like Japan, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Netherlands have outright banned programs such as Free Basics. With your help, and 12 lakh emails to TRAI last year, we’d helped to work towards a ban for it in India too – but Facebook has since spent a large amount of cash in ads, lobbying, diplomacy and PR to try to get it unbanned here. They’ve managed to re-open a closed issue, again. With your help, we’d like to re-shut it.  More to the point, this program, call it digital apartheid, if you will, has been roundly condemned by experts ranging from Tim Berners-Lee, the gent who invented the world-wide web, to Ph. D. researchers to civil society officials working in the field, globally.

The fact that Tanzania didn’t know how to say no to Facebook doesn’t mean India has to say yes. In fact, we hope that India saying no to this digital apartheid will inspire the African and other poor nations to kick out this evil program that serves no one but Facebook at their government’s expense.

FACEBOOK SAYS: Your characterisation of these countries is rather insulting. We wouldn’t categorize them all as poor and we wouldn’t categorize any as helpless. People everywhere are interested in the benefits that the internet can bring to their lives. The statistics of people moving off of the service hold up in these countries so nobody is getting stuck – people worldwide are smarter than you’re giving them credit for. The list includes Columbia, Philippines, Thailand, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Panama, Mongolia, Iraq and others. By the way, it seems pretty arrogant to refer to “mostly helpless African nations.” That is just our opinion.

MAHESH’S RESPONSE: By the way, it’s “Colombia” in South America not “Columbia” in the US that you probably mean. That somewhat-telling slip aside, when we refer to ‘poor’ countries, it’s on GDP and other economic norms, not some imaginary “insult” or “arrogance” you seek to pin on us.

The insult and arrogance here really is your hypocrisy, Facebook. In the US, you are strongly on the side of net neutrality – but in the developing and undeveloped world, you speak from the other side of your mouth, blatantly seeking to violate net neutrality and to give our citizens here a second-rate online experience that you wouldn’t dream of offering people in your home country. There are almost 50 million unconnected people in the US. Why don’t you try offering them this shoddy program there, and let’s see how the FCC responds to you?

Also, it’s good to see that you don’t disagree with Tim Berners-Lee and other experts who say your program is terrible.

But we’re the natives, right? How would we know, hmm? You wonderful folks in the developed world have decided what’s best for us, and with your high-decibel ad campaign and the pamper-the-ego-of-their-prime-minister tactics, you’re trying to push your low-quality offerings down our throats.

And now you ask, Mr Zuckerberg, in your piece in The Times Of India: “Who could possibly be against this?” More than a few of us, massa, as it turns out, more than a few of us.


FACEBOOK’S ADVERTISEMENT CLAIM: In a recent representative poll, 86% of Indians supported Free Basics by Facebook and the idea that everyone deserves access to free basic Internet services.

MAHESH WRITES:  Guess what, if you’ve ever clicked “yes” on any misleading poll by Facebook apparently asking you to support “connecting India” or “free internet”, then you too apparently voted for them. They never brought you both sides of the story, to take a fair decision.

FACEBOOK SAYS: This is false.  This was a door to door in person poll of more than 3,000 people in India. Link is here.

By the way, the poll as well asked pointed questions that opponents have used as arguments against Free Basics. We tested a number of arguments:

  • When the Internet is restricted, it means India is weaker. To be strong, the Internet should be free and open to everyone. Free Basics is just a scam by Facebook to try to get more people to use their site. The only reason they care about people without Internet is because they want to make more money.
  • Free Basics creates a world with two types of Internet: one for rich people and one for poor people. It’s important that everyone has access to the same Internet.
  • Free Basics has given Reliance a monopoly by partnering with them and no one else.
  • Free Basics does not protect its users, many of whom are new to the Internet and will be exploited by the service.

We wanted to fully understand what a broad range of Indians thought of Free Basics, rather than just speak to supporters or opponents. And we have been incorporating global feedback into the program all along.

MAHESH’S RESPONSE: We can see that your questions in the survey itself were misleading. No one can sensibly answer “yes” to both statements: “the Internet should be open to everyone” and “I support a program like Free Basics that takes people away from the full Internet”.

Just like your survey triumphantly reports the idiocy that a majority of Indians want net neutrality and at the same time want the opposite of net neutrality, that is Free Basics. So pardon us if there’s not much credibility in your survey or how you conducted it.

What adds to the lack of credibility is how you pushed even Americans into voting to show support for Free Basics in India, and how you carefully failed to give Facebook users the other side of the story – all among the 3.2 million votes you speak proudly of.


FACEBOOK’S ADVERTISEMENT CLAIM: In the past several days, 3.2 million people have petitioned the TRAI in support of Free Basics

MAHESH WRITES: Let’s again say it for what it is: 3.2 million people out of Facebook’s base of 130 million people who were repeatedly shown a misleading petition by Facebook on top of their pages clicked yes and submit, without being told both sides of the story, and thinking they were doing something for a noble cause, and not to further Facebook’s business strategy. A large number of them, shocked at realizing what they were conned into doing have since said no.

FACEBOOK SAYS: This is false. Only a small fraction of our 130 million users were notified. We largely provided the notice to people who had previously indicated their support of Free Basics months ago and then notified their friends only if the person showed support once again. And the response rates of support are high compared to average campaigns.  There is no evidence that “a large number” of them feel conned. Note: Claims on Twitter about false sends or notifications are disproved by the code – which we will happily supply to TRAI. Our program is benefiting people and we will continue to advocate for its benefits, much like its critics are using their communication channels to make their opinions known.

MAHESH’S RESPONSE: Thank you for confirming that your Facebook vote-getting effort wasn’t representative, but aimed as you say at only that “small fraction” of your users who had already showed support for Internet.org. In other words, you’d stacked the deck.

So why wouldn’t you say this earlier, and why brandish a number like 3.2 million about that you yourself admit is heavily selection-biased and not representative at all?


FACEBOOK’S ADVERTISEMENT CLAIM: There are no ads in the version of Facebook on Free Basics. Facebook produces no revenue. We are doing this to connect India and the benefits to do so are clear.

MAHESH WRITES:  First the unintentional lie. Facebook DOES produce revenue, about Rs. 12,000 crores worth globally. Then the intentional half-truth: It may not produce revenues from this Free Basics YET because the current version of Facebook on it has no ads YET.

FREE BASICS SAYS: No revenue is given to Facebook from the Facebook app on Free Basics: None. We responded to this in the link above, but here it is cut and paste: “There have never been ads in the version of Facebook in Free Basics. Ever. What if we find out that an ad-based model down the road has better conversion to the full internet and better serves the unconnected? We don’t think that’s likely, but this is why we do not want to say “never.” By the way, some opponents of Free Basics want it to have ads, so we’re a bit wondering how much of this particular criticism is based in anything logical and how much is just wanting to debate for its own sake.

MAHESH’S RESPONSE: Just a roundabout way of saying what they’ve said and we’ve said all along – Facebook doesn’t have ads yet, but reserves the right to bring in ads at any point in time.

Nothing new here.


GENERAL ISSUE #1: Has Facebook started Free Basics for altruistic or corporate reasons?

MAHESH WRITES (ORIGINAL ARTICLE): Let’s add a point here, and actually get to why Facebook is doing this. Forget their lies about “wanting to connect India” – if they really did, they would offer the open and full internet to everybody, free. They can, easily, but they have repeatedly have declined to do so, saying first the poor person has to sign up for Facebook and then a few scraggly sites are also shown to them.

The real reason is something they have never denied: their rivalry with Google and their questionable stock price. We are no apologists for Google, but this might interest you: Both companies have 1.5 billion users, but Google makes Rs. 70,000 crores while Facebook does less than one-fifth as well. In other words, for every new user that comes on the internet, Facebook makes Rs. 8, while Google makes around Rs. 48. Facebook’s stock is valued at a much higher multiple than Google, but people have begun to ask why they deserve this. With no reason to support the stratospheric price, it will fall.

For Facebook to have a chance to keep their stock price high, and to keep Zuckerberg and wife as rich as they are, they need to find new users who sign up for Facebook, but at the same time do not use Google. 

Enter the strategy: A program to offer Facebook but not Google at the mass, poor people level. Who is outside the first 1.5 billion people? Mostly people in India and China. Facebook is banned in China. So who becomes essential to Mark Zuckerberg’s balance sheet? Enter us Indians. What’s a hundred crores of ad spend, against tens of thousands crores of valuation? 

FACEBOOK SAYS: First of all, Free Basics is the best bridge to a full internet we’ve seen and we have proof from many other countries that this is true. Second, the mission of Facebook is to connect the world and it matters to us more than money. This is so true that a Wall Street analyst on an earnings call asked why he should care about internet.org because it’s non revenue producing. Mark Zuckerberg, our CEO, simply suggested that if he felt that way then he should invest in a different company.

There are several, practical reasons we cannot offer full, free internet to everyone and just giving away a full data pack does not work: a) it’s not a sustainable business model for telcos or anyone else over the long term. Telcos invest nearly a half trillion dollars (US) per year infrastructure; b) giving away free megabytes mostly only helps existing internet users, as opposed to the unconnected as existing users are more likely to have access to better connections; c) it also means users on low–bandwidth phones in 2G environments burn through their data very quickly – or have a terrible user experience with data intensive sites; and d) this latter point means that conversion to full paid internet is likely to be poor. We’ve studied this issue in 35 countries.

We’re not perfect, but we’re getting a very good idea about what actually works to connect people around the world; d) Finally, you’re implying that people must sign up to Facebook to use Free Basic Services.  This is false.  They don’t.  They only sign up to Facebook if they choose to use Facebook. Using Free Basics does not force you to use Facebook.

MAHESH’S RESPONSE: Nonsense and still more nonsense. Let’s start very simply. We don’t need a “bridge” to the full internet, when we can have the full internet itself. The “bridge” is a fancy invention by Facebook to refer to a holding area where Facebook holds, numbers and tracks people before they pay up and wander off into the real internet.

Study after study has shown that the poor and the less fortunate in undeveloped nations vastly prefer limited access to the full internet (for example a data limit or a speed limit) rather than full access to a few limited sites – like Facebook Free Basics offers. They want the freedom of choice.

Why hasn’t Facebook chosen the other, proven options to bring people to the internet that do not violate Net Neutrality? For example, in India, Aircel has begun providing full internet access for free at 64 kbps download speed for the first three months. Facebook could sponsor and expand that.

Schemes such as Gigato offer data for free for surfing some sites. The Mozilla Foundation runs two programs for free and neutral Internet access. Facebook could work with them. In Bangladesh, Grameenphone users get free data in exchange for watching an advertisement. In Africa, Orange users get 500 MB of free access on buying a $37 handset.

There are many, many proven and better ways to get the less fortunate on the Internet rather than have to come in wearing the Facebook Free Basics handcuffs.

And contrary to what Facebook claims, these are ALL sustainable models for telcos. They’re already up and running. More importantly, by offering the full internet to all people, these are the models that are best in line with how the scarce national resource of wireless spectrum should be best put to use.

We believe India’s spectrum should be made available only to folks who offer the full internet to people – and not just a self-serving tiny slice of it.

One more proof of this assertion is in the actual data itself: Facebook itself says that 55% of newbie users who see a glimpse of the Facebook walled garden in Free Basics actually drop out from the service altogether. Shouldn’t that be proof enough that it’s a bad idea and needs to stop, and that our people want and need the full internet?

Now to notice that Facebook completely ducked the valuation and anti-Google nature of Free Basics. Thank you for your very revealing non-rebuttal there, folks. And to your assertion that you don’t make money till people enter the full internet, that’s false too. You will make money the moment ads or sponsored posts are served against this audience – on whichever version of Facebook or Messenger they are on: the Free Basics one or the regular internet one.

And again, if you are really concerned about getting people on to the full internet because that’s where you’ll make your money, we’ve detailed above a few ways to do it. Thing is, you know of all these ways and you yet seek to not do that because you probably really don’t care a fig about bringing people to the full internet – all you want is to keep them away from Google for as long as you can so you can save your stock price. That’s why you’re spending a ridiculous amount of money to defend what is otherwise a completely indefensible position.

Especially when the same amount of money demonstrably can deliver 100 times more numbers of full internet users, if you were to work towards that and not this truncated little sliver called Free Basics.

And to your last point about advertising, we notice the fancy footwork again. What we’re saying is that brands who want to reach out to these Free Basics users cannot find them on the full Internet and hence will need to pay you to reach them, as and when you decide to turn the advertising or promoted post tap on.


GENERAL ISSUE #2: Is Free Basics bad for new, digital entrepreneurs?  

MAHESH WRITES (ORIGINAL ARTICLE): There are many other reasons why Facebook’s Free Basics Digital Apartheid is bad. It’s bad for entrepreneurs – your business can’t be discovered by these new potential users on the Internet till you advertise on Facebook. The same goes for big businesses.

FACEBOOK SAYS: This is not true. No one needs to advertise at all with us to have their application on Free Basics. And there are a lot of small developers seeing success on the Free Basics platform.


GENERAL ISSUE #3: Are India’s net neutrality activists, the Save the Internet movement, speaking on behalf of India’s rural population? Are they against greater Internet access?

MAHESH WRITES (ORIGINAL ARTICLE): We are happy to support any effort that brings the full and unfettered internet to as many Indians as possible, as cheaply as possible.

FACEBOOK SAYS: Then you ought to support Free Basics because it serves as a bridge to the full internet. For example, Socialblood is building the largest network of blood donors, hospitals, and blood banks on the internet. Since joining the Free Basics Platform, Socialblood has seen an 85 percent increase in monthly visitors, a 59 percent increase in requests for blood, and a 65 percent decrease in donor response time. Through Free Basics, Socialblood has connected thousands of patients across the globe to life saving blood products. How is this not a good thing?

MAHESH RESPONDS: Like we’ve said before – why build a tiny bridge to the full internet, when the entire darn thing can be made available to all at lesser cost and with full net neutrality?

And it’s nice to see social programs. Pity they’re on a tiny, small and unconnected part of the online world. We’re certain the entrepreneur would much rather have the full gamut of potential blood donors than what just the Facebook micro-network offers. Even citizens who need and can give blood would also much rather be on the full internet. We wonder about the lives that’ll be lost because either the donors or donees can’t be found on the real Internet in an actual time of need.

It’s not that the full internet is an impossibility to offer and hence government spectrum needs to be used to deliver the Facebook micro-network of sites. It’s quite the opposite. The full internet is very viable to provide, globally, at lesser cost and much larger benefit than the Facebook micro-network.

The shame is that Facebook seems to have no apparent real interest in its supposed mission to make the world more open and connected. If it did, it would absolutely support full access. The Facebook interest – as can be seen from the tremendous spend in media and lobbying on this issue – to create a closed and disconnected Facebook province, separated from the real world of the full Internet.


GENERAL ISSUE #4: The need for a public debate on Free Basics and net neutrality.

FACEBOOK ASKS: Finally: Mahesh – would you agree to a public debate on this topic in front of an audience of developers (large and small), tech students and media? We’re game if you are.

MAHESH RESPONDS: Absolutely. But why just developers and tech students? Let’s get all kinds of students, all kinds of entrepreneurs, lots of media, politicians and even the lay public. We could do it in Hindi too, if you like.

It’s all about keeping it open, right? You know where to reach me. Lord knows you track me enough online!

This article has been edited for clarity.

  • Anil Maheshwari

    Brilliant Mahesh. Ignorant are pledging their support to the Facebook which seems to be nothing but a wolf. Keep it up. Thanks for enlightening us.

  • visakh

    Epic. Mr Murthy is making total sense here. If Free Basics takes off in India, that will be my last day on FB. #BoycottFB

    • Rohit Thomas

      Well, CLOUD PLATFORMS show POWER which is best seen on LAPTOPS, DESKTOPS, MACBOOKS instead of SMARTPHONES, TABLETS. Google, FB, etc all provide free services and yet they make money through Ads though can use Ad Blockers to block ads – heard of them or not (not just via websites but also ads under YouTube, FB, etc…..AdBlock Plus is 1 of the best and works best on Chrome browser though can be downloaded for FREE on any browser….OTHER ad blockers are there too…..Adblock Plus works best on desktop, laptop, MacBook, etc but may not work a lot on smartphones, tablets, etc)? Also, who uses just APPS these days? Look at SPOTIFY. Is SPOTIFY just AN APP? NOPE, it isn’t. SPOTIFY is a PLATFORM. It not only has music under it and also apps developed under it. SPOTIFY also has 3rd party apps and platforms integrated to it – other music apps and platforms which is why it is the world’s best music streaming PLATFORM (NOT ALL DATABASES WILL HAVE EVERY DATA UNDER IT – Spotify has English, Indian, Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese and other music under it but not all + it has different features too with apps developed under it and also integration to 3rd party apps and platforms…..Same goes with DEEZER but INDIAN ones like SAAVN, GAANA WAY BEHIND). GOOGLE SAME – HANGOUT which used to be part of Google+ integrates not just to Google products but also to 3rd party VOIPs like UBER CONFERENCE. And it goes on. THE WORLD SHIFTED TO WEB 3.0 (CLOUD PLATFORMS) 10 YEARS BACK but INDIA and MANY OTHER NATIONS haven’t realised that. In Business World, SALESFORCE is the BEST EXAMPLE though NOTHING THERE IS FREE – all SUBSCRIBED BASIS which is where the world has headed – SPOTIFY is an example of it too (INSTEAD OF ADVERTISING) though SPOTIFY FREE will only provide some music, not all (which is same for many social and collaborative economy sides). SALESFORCE was 1 of the pioneers for cloud computing – world’s best CRM that not only deals with SALES but also MARKETING, ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE, HR, PROJECT MANAGEMENT, BI AND DATA ANALYTICS, HEALTH SECTOR SIDE and SO ON including LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, THE OTHER SIDE OF AUTOMATION – MARKETING AUTOMATION – HIGHER END as CRM alone WON’T GIVE COMPLETE AUTOMATION though INTEGRATION IS THERE OF VARIOUS TOOLS.

      The whole world has shifted to AUTOMATION with INTEGRATION WHETHER with SOCIAL MEDIA, COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY including CROWDSOURCING (new way OF OUTSOURCING WHICH HAPPENS LOCAL AND NOT JUST INTERNATIONAL), MOOCs and SO ON.

      POWER OF PaaS (PLATFORMS) along with IaaS (INFRASTRUCTURE), not just SaaS (APPS) can be seen UNDER DESKTOPS, LAPTOPS, MACBOOKS, etc and NOT JUST UNDER SMARTPHONES, TABLETS, etc (BESIDES, SMARTPHONE WOULD BE OBSOLETE TECHNOLOGY within 5 to 10 years due to IoT or INTERNET OF THINGS)

    • Rohit Thomas

      PEOPLE FROM INDIA and MANY OTHER NATIONS aren’t aware of where the world is. Seen this – https://apps.facebook.com/catalogspree-app/?ref=eyJzaWQiOiIwLjE3NTEwNzkzNTIxMDY4OTkiLCJxcyI6IkpUVkNKVEl5UTJGMFlXeHZaeVV5TUZOd2NtVmxKVEl5SlRWRSIsImd2IjoiMjlmNGFkYjY2NzJlMzBhMGNjMDZkMDRlNDEzYmEwMWVjODM4ODUyZiJ9 (Shopping Catalog right within FB – thought of anything like this in India) OR let’s say you want to watch something like YouTube on FB – can be done right within FB OR have something like LINKEDIN right wihin FB? Can be done. Even your LinkedIN can be linked to FB though there OTHER CAREER APPS and EVEN PAGES ON FB – BOEING CAREERS PAGE is 1 example – https://www.facebook.com/BoeingCareers. And these are just couple of tools and basics. What can be done with them? Learn habits of people including friends. PRIVACY SETTINGS VERY IMPORTANT which are used even with SALESFORCE. Create campaigns on CAUSES or OTHER TOOLS which can be seen on FB. Or even have the whole website within FB like NPR through Apps-https://apps.facebook.com/138837436154588/?fb_source=search&ref=br_tf. ARE WEBSITES DYING? Yes, they are as PLATFORMS HAVE TAKEN OVER IN THE DIGITAL WORLD – WEBSITES ARE SLOWLY DYING as THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO SHOW STORIES ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS. Social World – FB IS THE BEST though it STILL SUCKS WITH SEARCH but that’s coming up too. YOUR SMARTPHONES are PLATFORMS which contains APPS but POWER OF PLATFORMS can be seen with DESKTOPS, LAPTOPS, MACBOOKS not TABLETS nor SMARTPHONES because of BATTERY DRAINAGE on smartphones and Tablets (+ Apps on Smartphones and Tablets, NOT WEB VERSIONS THERE use DIFFERENT FEATURES OF THE FULL VERSION OF THE TOOLS under LAPTOPS, DESKTOPS, MACBOOKS which is why FB and FB Messenger exists as APPS under Smartphones – FB APP on Smartphones and Tablets don’t cover all the features that 1 can see under the FB Web Version. Same goes with FB MESSENGER APP. AND FB ISN’T THE ONLY 1 as IT IS FOR ALL…..thus, POWER OF CLOUD PLATFORMS – DESKTOPS, LAPTOPS AND MACBOOKS IF WANT TO SEE)

      FB isn’t the only 1 – Google, Spotify, Trulia, Zillow (Zillow and Trulia combined and they own the whole real estate side – not just properties and agencies’ content but also buying and selling agents’ content, content of electricians, plumbers and so on + also advertising side and so on…US isn’t the only 1 there as Australia, UK and others including from Asia are all into it…And it isn’t just property market, take a look at teaching, medical, law and other areas – CONTENT PROVIDES MONEY which is what UBER, AIRBNB, etc HAVE ALL DONE – the WHOLE VALUE CHAIN. What if FB has an alternative to Zillow which owns Trulia too even though it’s not great – https://apps.facebook.com/myagentprofile/?fb_source=search&ref=br_tf is that app which is right within FB) and many others including SALESFORCE, MOOCs, FREELANCER, ELANCE, etc are all PLATFORMS. FREELANCER, ELANCE are into CROWDSOURCING (new way of Outsourcing which is Auction-based with Reputation Tools and for Tasks rather than Projects as well as for Local instead of International) while MOOCs, UBER and AIRBNB – all these are NETWORKED or COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY PLATFORMS which is WEB 3.0 (CLOUD PLATFORMS + REALITY). PaaS and IaaS(Cloud Platforms) involves not just SaaS (Apps developed) but also 3rd party apps and platforms integrated to the Platforms to get DATA or INFORMATION which can also be used for SOMETHING ELSE like CAMPAIGNS, DECISION MAKING, etc. PRIVACY SETTINGS VERY VERY IMPORTANT as MANY STILL DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE THOSE WELL including when sharing with particular friend or set of friends, followers, groups and so on-all which ALL ORGANISATIONS PROVIDE very well.

      We’re living in the AUTOMATION and INTEGRATION age. INDIA’S BEHIND as IT CAME 10 TO 15 YEARS LATE. CLOUD PLATFORMS is used not just with the NETWORKED OR COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY as mentioned above. HEARD OF ROBOT REVOLUTION? HOW DO YOU THINK IoT or Internet of Things work? DO YOU THINK ROBOT REVOLUTION involves Cloud Platforms or not? And, by the way, they exist in a lot of areas today – SUPERIOR AI, not INFERIOR AI nor PROGRAMMED BY HUMANS. Heard of THE GRID? Can check out the page under FB. It’s AI WEBSITES by robots. Heard of financial exchanges doing AI, not inferior one but superior 1 and not programmed by humans? Already exists around the world. Heard of robot chefs, waiters, waitresses, doctors, teachers, driverless vehicles, etc? Already exists as JAPAN has whole hotel industry with Robots which has started while CHINA has it mostly with Manufacturing side (IS INDIA LATE or will it be able to challenge China?). China and Japan has robots within other sectors too though Japan plays 2nd fiddle to South Korea which is the world’s leader for Robotics. China beats India for ROBOTICS too. INDIA needs to START COPYCAT MODE on a large scale while CHINA needs to START INNOVATIVE MODE on a large scale.Driverless vehicles already exists in UK as cabs and in Australia as trucks for Rio and it goes on for other areas too. And UBER is involved with DRIVERLESS VEHICLES, not just COLLABORATIVE or NETWORKED ECONOMY while few of the other players are GOOGLE, TESLA, BMW, VOLVO, MERCEDES BENZ, etx. Heard of 4D Printing? Coming up soon and already started in many countries. And it goes on.
      SEEN HUMANS NEED NOT APPLY which has been under YouTube for nearly 2 years now? THAT IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO HUMANS. 40 TO 50% OF THE JOBS THAT EXIST TODAY WON’T EXIST IN THE NEXT 10 to 20 years time where the economic impact would be $14 to $33 trillion per year from 2025 (STUDIES FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY and others SINCE 2012). 80% OF THE JOBS WON’T EXIST within the NEXT 20 YEARS – https://flipboard.com/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Frobotenomics.com%2F2014%2F04%2F16%2Fstudy-indicates-robots-could-replace-80-of-jobs%2F&v=Q98jPjv-s9KpQox5efHkfoXBnmDRUATENGDihJIs2KsAAAFR-LaNPQ. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR CENTURIES WHERE TECHNOLOGIES AND DISRUPTIVE INNOVATIONS CHANGE LIFE. Can read and watch many of the ROBOT REVOLUTION videos WHICH INCLUDES CLOUD COMPUTING (PaaS and IaaS, not just SaaS) from https://flipboard.com/@rohitthomas2015/robot-revolution-(articles-and-videos)-lclhrsufy.

      Which are the 1st jobs to go which have already taken place in many parts of the world? ACCOUNTING, REPETITIVE JOBS like ADMIN, ANALYSTS, LABOUR AND SO ON. Which would be the next jobs to go? CEOs, MANAGERS, MULTI-TASKED JOBS, STRATEGIC or RELATIONSHIP BUILDING ONES, etc (DOCTOR ROBOTS already EXISTS, HEDGE FUND PERSONNEL GETTING THRASHED BY ROBOTS which can seen under Flipboard site shown above – videos and articles and it goes on as IT PEOPLE too are LOSING JOBS as well…BPO has gone to Philippines and would be safer there for time-being though could be challenged too as AUTOMATION ISN’T SO EASY WITH STRATEGIC and RELATIONSHIP BUILDING SIDE compared to ANALYTICAL ONE…same happens when COMPARE DOCTORS TO NURSES as FORMER WOULD GO EASILY COMPARED TO LATTER). Last jobs to go – GARDENERS and LANDSCAPING WORKERS. Can read about them under http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/05/21/408234543/will-your-job-be-done-by-a-machine as well as http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2015/11/06/why-ceos-are-more-susceptible-to-automation-than-landscapers/

      • jehangirchinoy

        Your warped … period! Sorry for the comment below you

        • Rohit Thomas

          What comment below mine? Dude, I’m well aware of PaaS, Platform Business Model, etc. I have worked within the Digital Marketing space which includes Salesforce, MailChimp, etc – all Platforms with PaaS, not just apps which were last used in 2006. I even worked with those as I used to work within the IT side (mostly related to Marketing which is how I shifted off to the Specialisation – within Marketing Industry which has a lot more happening with the Platform Business Model using PaaS). Besides, haven’t you even read the Platform Business Model books written by NRIs themselves?

        • Rohit Thomas

          And sorry I deleted my comment to which you had replied above message though the deleted message is also written elsewhere on that post. Anyway, which comment below mine are you referring to? Dude, I’m well aware of PaaS, Platform Business Model, etc. I have worked within the Digital Marketing space which includes Salesforce, MailChimp, etc – all Platforms with PaaS, not just apps which were last used in 2006. I even worked with those as I used to work within the IT side (mostly related to Marketing which is how I shifted off to the Specialisation – within Marketing Industry which has a lot more happening with the Platform Business Model using PaaS) – all these within the last 10 years or so. Besides, haven’t you even read the Platform Business Model books written by NRIs themselves?

  • http://blog.gaadikey.com/ GaadiKey

    Hats off to Murthy… Save the Internet. Say no to free basics scam by fb.

  • Guy

    Awesome. Thank you Mahesh for enlightening us. It is a crime that our national resource (spectrum) is being used to help private players like FB. Looking forward to the debate. My friends and I will personally attend and cheer you on.

  • http://abhishekgharat.in/ Abhi

    Intense! 😀

  • Alok Mishra

    Murthy wins hands down… where is the doubt… facebook wants to make money at any cost to anybody – financial or freedom wise, where is the doubt in that?

  • DevD

    British never told they wanted to colonized us they came India to do business.Karma is not judge by action but by intention.Naive Indians having inferiority complex installed by British towards west will accept anything they propagate without inquiry..It’s time we develop our own platform like China.

  • Dhaval

    Great article with wonderful insight into Facebook’s actual intentions. I think the need of the hour is free or subsidized wifi for poor people. Instead of partnering with Indian Railways and other government departments like Google did, Facebook is trying to increase its revenues and reach in India by offering Free Basics under the mask of altruism. Everyone who cares for an open internet needs to respond to TRAI by going to http://www.savetheinternet.in/.

  • guruprasad

    “And of the 120,000 who were locked in the walled garden, almost all of them: 110,000 dropped out and never came back again (the 55% of 200,000 who have “churned”) – perhaps disappointed with what they saw there. And 10,000 continue to remain locked in there.” ———- Matter over. If FB think it could capture market through Free Basics it would probably become suicidal. That’s why I’m asking why big fuss on this. Claims of FB capturing Indian Market through this Free Basics doesn’t make sense. That’s it.

  • http://jaihind.com/ Indian_Lion

    It doesn’t make sense to talk about net neutrality when 1 billion people don’t have access to internet.

    Think about people in villages and people who can’t afford internet. Having some services is better than no service.

    Are we trying to continue leaving behind a billion people?

    • paulomi

      “Hey Man I got a cell phone for you, you can have it. FREE! However I control who you can and can’t call”

      Want it?

    • Dhaval

      Of course, every person in the country should get access to the Internet. Free internet can be provided with the restriction on speed or data usage say first 200 MB/ month is free for a period of 6 months, but with no infringement on the actual access. AirCell for example is planning for free unrestricted internet roll-out to all its “unconnected” subscribers for the first 3 months and then they can choose whether they want to pay for that service. However, facebook is taking away the choice to choose websites from Free Basics users. Free Basics does indeed provide a walled garden of online content. As per Quartz analysis, millions of people already have a skewed perception of the web, believing facebook and its partner websites to be internet. Also differential data pricing will hurt start-ups in India. One should also realize that Facebook has access to users all data within Free Basics, as this data resides on their servers. This is a serious security issue.

  • bp

    1. Overwhelming majority of Internet users have willingly gifted their
    privacy to Facebook and Google, which shows that the price of ‘privacy’ is
    extremely low. Several governments and competitors also spy on
    People/Companies. The argument about Facebook taking user’s data is weak. They
    already have it. The key is facebook’s ability to look at other app’s data.

    2. In a country where there is no freedom of speech (remember book/film
    bans/hate speech) or equality (reservation?), the ideals of ‘net neutrality’
    seem utopian. ‘Net neutrality’ in its absolute purity is not practiced in most
    countries. Most governments ban certain “indecent/terrorism related”
    websites. There are several other violations of this principle everyday. Many
    devices on purpose does not support certain kind of web-technologies (flash on
    earlier iPhones). As a consumer, the “whole internet” is rarely available. Most
    of all, “net neutrality” is just an idea like countless other noble
    ideas; it should not become a “value” in itself. It needs to be justified based
    on its merits.

    3. Every change in the status quo is resisted; there are some winners
    and some losers. The winners in “Free Basics” will be millions of
    poor people, majority of whom don’t have internet access yet. Some paying users
    will switch too, but those users are also a kind of basic users of the Internet.
    They use basic communication/entertainment apps but not contribute into
    e-commerce. The losers will be people who will pay for the “Free
    Basics” indirectly – the “whole internet” consumers & all internet
    companies, who will have to redesign the whole website to conform to Facebook
    standards as well as share their user privacy with Facebook.

    4. Other Internet companies (including much talked Indian startups)
    will not lose much because their paying customers are from the ‘class’, which
    will continue to use the “whole internet”.

    While I myself do not see enrolling for something like “Free Basics”, I have
    no right to object to ingenious market solutions that can offer “any”
    connectivity to the less fortunate people. In fact, ideals of free market and
    democracy, which are more fundamental to the modern civilization require that
    programs like “free basics” should be allowed for various companies.
    The consumers should be allowed to decide, whether they want this or not. The
    smart and powerful have no right to force their opinion on the rest of society.

  • dijy

    Boycott Facebook let us all run a campaign of quitting facebook on facebook itself and parallely on twitter

  • dijy

    bravo bravo mr. ashish singh you hit thr nail on the coffin.

  • Aanand Kumar

    Wow Mr. Murthy. I pity the guy at freebasics who has to write answers to negate your very valid points. Free Basics – Never. I think it should be called Fee Basics…

  • Loknath Swain

    Facebook is playing a “love first and kill the best possible way’ game in India for its business interest. Free basic is actually not making Internet accessible to Indians . Rather it will help these companies to do business easily and make profit huge. Free basic is not for people. I condemn the effort by Facebook and others. All should get united to force these to stop. Otherwise these B I G companies will lobby in their interest.

  • Sanjeev Sarma

    Ok.

    Now I get it. The Free Basics argument is over an audience that has never used the internet at all.

    And the people who crib about people not getting internet at all, are now cribbing about them GETTING an internet, because the people who are getting internet, are getting the internet in a way that people who WANT them to get internet, don’t want them to – which is namely via FB, because having connected to the internet via FB would mean that they are not connected to the TRUE internet, AND because having gone to the internet via FB, they would allow FB to do a little bit of business.

    Why aren’t these people who want these people who don’t have the internet to have the internet, GIVING them the internet in the first place then?

  • Sanjeev Sarma

    Now I get it. The Free Basics argument is over an audience that has never used the internet at all.

    And the people who crib about people not getting internet at all, are now cribbing about them GETTING an internet, because the people who are getting internet, are getting the internet in a way that people who WANT them to get internet, don’t want them to – which is namely via FB, because having connected to the internet via FB would mean that they are not connected to the TRUE internet, AND because having gone to the internet via FB, they would allow FB to do a little bit of business.

    Why aren’t these people who want these people who don’t have the internet, giving them the internet in the first place then?

  • Ramkrishna Upadhyay

    After #GoBackSimonComission India need #GoBackFreeBasics

    • SingisKing

      That is retarded thinking!
      If it is not related to you..Why are you hating it.
      Argue this near a slum near you or a village near you.

  • Jaskeerat Singh

    One movie theater sells for 10 Rs and will show movies of single production house only. Also total numbers of screens (spectrum) is limited and this theater starts using the most of available screens in the country. It becomes non-profitable for other production houses to make movies….. So viewers are losers or winners you can decide…..
    PS: Discounting to drive away competition is ethical from business perspective and I am not against free basics, I only think it is not a social program at all and should be given only right amount of spectrum based on limited choices it is given… but please please do think before saying that people would benefit!!!!!!1

    • SingisKing

      If it is not full internet and you are not going to use it..Why are you opposing it??

      Low cost airlines is also an example to this..
      They charge 1/4th the price of normal airlines.
      They don’t serve much snacks or have amenities,They also pay low salaries to their staff.
      Why should People who don’t travel in low cost airlines oppose Low cost airlines??

  • Rohit Thomas

    Reality is CLOUD PLATFORMS show POWER which is best seen on LAPTOPS, DESKTOPS, MACBOOKS instead of SMARTPHONES, TABLETS. Google, FB, etc all provide free services and yet they make money through Ads though can use Ad Blockers to block ads – heard of them or not (not just via websites but also ads under YouTube, FB, etc…..AdBlock Plus is 1 of the best and works best on Chrome browser though can be downloaded for FREE on any browser….OTHER ad blockers are there too…..Adblock Plus works best on desktop, laptop, MacBook, etc but may not work a lot on smartphones, tablets, etc)? Also, who uses just APPS these days? Look at SPOTIFY. Is SPOTIFY just AN APP? NOPE, it isn’t. SPOTIFY is a PLATFORM. It not only has music under it and also apps developed under it. SPOTIFY also has 3rd party apps and platforms integrated to it – other music apps and platforms which is why it is the world’s best music streaming PLATFORM (NOT ALL DATABASES WILL HAVE EVERY DATA UNDER IT – Spotify has English, Indian, Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese and other music under it but not all + it has different features too with apps developed under it and also integration to 3rd party apps and platforms…..Same goes with DEEZER but INDIAN ones like SAAVN, GAANA WAY BEHIND). GOOGLE SAME – HANGOUT which used to be part of Google+ integrates not just to Google products but also to 3rd party VOIPs like UBER CONFERENCE. And it goes on. THE WORLD SHIFTED TO WEB 3.0 (CLOUD PLATFORMS) 10 YEARS BACK but INDIA and MANY OTHER NATIONS haven’t realised that. In Business World, SALESFORCE is the BEST EXAMPLE though NOTHING THERE IS FREE – all SUBSCRIBED BASIS which is where the world has headed – SPOTIFY is an example of it too (INSTEAD OF ADVERTISING) though SPOTIFY FREE will only provide some music, not all (which is same for many social and collaborative economy sides). SALESFORCE was 1 of the pioneers for cloud computing – world’s best CRM that not only deals with SALES but also MARKETING, ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE, HR, PROJECT MANAGEMENT, BI AND DATA ANALYTICS, HEALTH SECTOR SIDE and SO ON including LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, THE OTHER SIDE OF AUTOMATION – MARKETING AUTOMATION – HIGHER END as CRM alone WON’T GIVE COMPLETE AUTOMATION though INTEGRATION IS THERE OF VARIOUS TOOLS.

    The whole world has shifted to AUTOMATION with INTEGRATION WHETHER with SOCIAL MEDIA, COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY including CROWDSOURCING (new way OF OUTSOURCING WHICH HAPPENS LOCAL AND NOT JUST INTERNATIONAL), MOOCs and SO ON.

    POWER OF PaaS (PLATFORMS) along with IaaS (INFRASTRUCTURE), not just SaaS (APPS) can be seen UNDER DESKTOPS, LAPTOPS, MACBOOKS, etc and NOT JUST UNDER SMARTPHONES, TABLETS, etc (BESIDES, SMARTPHONE WOULD BE OBSOLETE TECHNOLOGY within 5 to 10 years due to IoT or INTERNET OF THINGS)

  • Nitesh Shetty

    You are my idol (Murthy) here…Simply Brilliant. Hats off

  • Khalid Abdullah Khan

    No to FreeBasic. Thanks Mahesh for your effort.

  • Dhiraj Goundgave

    FaceBook. FreeBasics. F***ingBullshit.
    Mahesh, FreakingBrilliant.

  • Monika

    Since it concerns with India the article reminds me some lines…. ” ghar sajane ka khayal toh bahut accha hai, pehle yeh tai ho is ghar ko bachayen kaise”.. Happy New Year to you n family. Cheers!!

  • Subhash Kunnath

    Nothing comes ‘free’ on earth except sunlight, oxygen, rain, mud, rock, wind, clouds and the oceans – the most essential and valuable “gifts” to sustain ‘life’, which in itself is a miracle about which we understand so little. And the food we consume also comes almost as a gift, only if we are ready to work a little, as the other species do to live life to the fullest. Yes, I mean “gifts” because these offerings on earth are unaccounted, with no need to return the favor to this mysterious and benevolent Universe.

    So it appears, there’s something fishy about facebook’s Free Basics plans. I realize, facebook founder certainly tried to fool us by visiting Taj Mahal and spending his ‘free’ rare time with PM Narendra Modi, whom he would ‘not’ have admired any way for any reason. I am ‘afraid’, those who seek a ban on Free Basics are made of better stuff, and I do feel proud about this, although I’ve admired the more developed nations for its thoughts, inventions, rational thinking and scientific achievements. But I must state, the freebies might not be a camouflage for multiplying facebook’s revenues – because money has little value after the necessities (luxuries?) are met. But it might be facebook’s desire to take on its internet competitors and boost its ego. Probably Google understands this.

    Facebook’s advertisement campaign in the Indian media exposes a lot. Because, if things come free, there’s no need to shout from roof tops.

  • Nitesh Shetty

    Mr Murthy..You are my idol here..Brilliant..Hats off..

  • Hitendra Kumar

    Well, there is a point here; We probably need an strategy where risks of getting all people and their personal data correlated by one large business entity and no one will go with anything which leads to dictatorship; we need a free world and healthy competition not an strategy to exploit all simultaneously; let’s review impact of their overall plan on these lines before even allowing a discussion; We need to understand how information propagates and persisted and where and overall chances of mis use at any point of time !

  • Rohit Thomas

    FB is a PaaS and has been since 2007 (Web 3.0 is about IaaS and PaaS – Infrastructure and Platforms, not just SaaS, which is apps…Platforms are not just apps developed on them but also integration of 3rd party apps and 3rd party platforms which you can see under https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewfogg/2732045580 – DON’T COPY OR FLICK THAT IMAGE for writing any blog without giving credit as CAN BE SUED since it uses COPYRIGHT LAWS as FLICKR HAS THOSE TOOLS which can be seen under the site). Started off with Games years back but went on to MS Docs. Yes, MS Docs answer to Google Docs was under FB since 2009 onwards though now it isn’t anymore as MS and FB work together though not a lot (just like Bing went out while FB is trying to develop search too but SUCKS though coming up). Lot of apps under FB which can be done right within FB including websites (Some of them I mentioned above). AND FB isn’t the only 1 involved with PLATFORMS as all SOCIAL MEDIA HIGH VALUED STUFF HAVE PLATFORMS as the BASIS which includes GOOGLE. Low Valued ones like Saavn, Gaana only apps which is why SPOTIFY is the BEST MUSIC STREAMING TOOL IN THE WORLD as it is a PLATFORM since it connects to a lot of 3rd party apps and platforms and not just apps developed on them (It has Japanese, English, Chinese, Indian, Brazilian and songs from all places BUT LIKE ANY DATABASE, IT WON’T CONTAIN ALL DATA OR INFORMATION which is why it connects to other apps… Deezer is same as it connects to various apps and podcasts though not as many as Spotify……They also have various features and tools which provide them values like SIMILAR SONGS even after CHOOSING SONGS, not JUST WHEN GOING TO CHOOSE A SONG and so on….They also involve combination of ADVERTISING and SUBSCRIPTION MODELS). Also, days of Ads are going due to Ad-Blockers WHERE THE BUSINESS MODEL has shifted to SUBSCRIPTION MODEL which is what MANY DIGITAL TOOLS USE though some use COMBINATION – ADVERTISING + SUBSCRIPTION. Collaborative or Networked Economy that we are all in now involves PaaS. Robot Revolution uses it too.

    Google is the best general search engine though it isn’t the best search engine. Heard of Surface Web, Deep Web, Dark Web? Surface web is 3% which includes Google. FB is there under Surface and Deep Web. Deep Web is 97% though it contains Dark Web, a subset which is what Tor Project was. Tor Project was an issue that involved Silk Road, Bitcoins and criminal stuff. Dark Web still contains criminal and illegal sides. Deep Web includes forms, databases, pages not tracked which are done by individuals and organisations when they created them and so on. Heard of Content Discovery and Recommendation tools? TripAdvisor is 1 of them within the Travel Sector. Will that information be there under Google? Not all but bits of it yes. There are others too including heatmapping tools and so on.

  • Abhijit Ovalekar

    Mr. Mahesh Murthy, thank you for sharing your thoughts and facts. This will benefit most of the Internet users who do not know what is going on with Free Basics and its motives. The facts above clearly indicate a BIG NO to Free Basics. The users may have to think whether to shift to Google + now. It is a big shame on FB founder, the intentions are clearly malicious, building a huge TRAP for Indian Internet users, SHAME!

  • RSD

    Murthy’s arrogance and ignorance is shocking. No wonder we are stuck in a caste/religion/economic hierarchy for centuries. Every attempt to bring in equality is made to go through the agnipareeksha of a thousand selfish agendas

  • RSD

    Borrowing the analogy of SingisKing – Imagine poor people in villages that have ever been to a movie. They’ve heard that its amazing but don’t know if they should cough up the money for tickets. Now some big co. like UTV offers them free movies but only a select 3-40 movies whose producers have offered their films free. Some of the villagers find these movies to be sufficient entertainment and continue watching them. So want more and start going to other cinema halls by paying for the tickets and few don’t think movies is such a big deal and don’t return to either the free or paid cinema hall. In this scenario, the people are the winners because they got to watch some nice entertainment and also a choice of switching to a broader catalog in a paid theater, the movie producers are winners because they were able to showcase their film and their regular cast and build a popularity base for future, UTV is a winner because it was able to bring more and more people into the movie fans base and achieve its stated mission of promoting good clean entertainment. Who are the losers? Selfish and petty-minded owners of paid cinema halls who thought their traffic is being taken away. Their short term thinking is bad not just for others but also for them. Don’t fall for their propaganda.

    • SingisKing

      Great example!!
      You have put it in a much better way!!

  • Raghuram Iyer

    The worst neutrality is today… where a few like mahesh who are rich and affordable are controlling the minds of other rich and affordable in india…like me… who are paying up to get a data package for accessing the Internet that mahesh is proposing…. but the worst divide of poor and rich is today on the Internet access… making it possible for a few haves to be more informed and knowledgeable. Havenots are still not included. So net according to me is not neutral today. So subsidy is required for inclusive growth… the subsidy that a ration card in a ration store gives access to free basics to the poor on food. But the moment the poor moves on up the value curve with slight affordability he first chooses to be more aware and access better services because he wants to lead better life… and that’s what free basics will do… I don’t care if it’s FB or anybody… but I think giving free basic internet access to poor must be the top priority for India. .. to include the vast majority who do not have the advantage you and me enjoy.

  • FamiJoy

    Facebook’s
    own Terms of use state: “by posting Member Content to any part of the
    Web site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that
    you have the right to grant, to facebook an irrevocable, perpetual,
    non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy,
    perform, display, reformat, translate, excerpt and distribute such
    information and content and to prepare derivative works of, or
    incorpoate into other works, such information and content, and to grant
    and authorise sublicenses of the foregoing.

    And in its equally interesting privacy policy: “Facebook may also
    collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers,
    blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook
    service through the operation of the service (eg. photo tags) in order
    to provide you with more useful information and a more personalised
    experience. By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal
    data transferred to and processed in the United States.”

    IAO has
    the stated mission “to gather as much information as possible about
    everyone, in a centralised location, for easy perusal by the United
    States government, including (though not limited to) internet activity,
    credit card purchase histories, airline ticket purchases, car rentals,
    medical records, educational transcripts, driver’s licenses, utility
    bills, tax returns, and any other available data.”.

  • CuriousSoul

    For the first point, I agree with Mahesh Murthy that big
    sites don’t want Facebook to own their customers. Clearly, It is a debate
    between bigger fishes and whale where former wants their piece and whale wants
    to take it all. Why should I support bigger fishes and not whale, I don’t
    know!!

    For second point, only Facebook and Wikipedia are the
    websites out of top 40 websites which will run for free(as mentioned by
    Mahesh). I don’t think that sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc. are relevant to
    Indian rural class as they don’t provides education to Indian society? Is this
    all basic? How come e-commerce gets its place in free basic?? In my humble
    opinion, only Wikipedia is basic.

    Privacy concerns: Random search showed me this:

    http://in.norton.com/yoursecurityresource/detail.jsp?aid=internet_searches

    If we go through this article, then it is clearly mentioned
    that even Google keep its data for more than 18 months. The reasons mentioned
    were to maintain security, analyzing logging patterns to prevent malicious
    attacks. I still don’t know if all this is true for Google but false for
    Facebook who are saying that they will keep the data for 90 days.

    Mahesh mentioned: ‘Basically, the wolf is saying, trust me,
    I’m guarding the sheep’. Who is Google then?? I don’t know!!

    Then comes the number game with 1 million subscribers of
    Facebook on Free basics, out of which 80% are existing and 20% are new ones,
    trying to prove a point that this is not for rural people but for urban class
    who are already using Internet. I agree with this completely. Discussion is on
    20% customer while the actual selling point is those 80%. What is wrong with
    that for the people? If you want to
    access Free Basics, enjoy that, if not, leave it and go back to normal data
    plan. Again I can see self-interest for big company people and investors of
    e-commerce companies!!

    As I don’t have free time as that of Mahesh Murthy, I will
    respond to the other points after some time

  • Rsquared

    I believe, there are some really valid points on the side of net neutrality. I only wish Mahesh and the like would stop being rabid, academic, and nitpicking lot and state those points clearly… I would really like to be swayed in that direction. For. e.g. making this a India vs others debate, or unsubstantiated name calling (prisoners in a walled garden..), etc are just as chicanerous as FBs marketing.

  • Kapil Rana

    “Free Basics” is a step from facebook to secure its future in India and globally by holding users in its “walled garden”. It curbs the freedom of internet by offering “selective websites /services” to users. I stronly feel that actions speak louder than words and if we really want to send our message across to “Facebook”, we should think of a “Facebook holiday” or “No facebook day” to show our angst.

    • SingisKing

      offering “selective websites /services” to users. –True
      But it is intended for People who cannot afford internet or don’t want full internet.
      When the offer is not for you or me ,Why should we shout foul play ?

      Do you mean ,Everything unlimitedly free for everyone .
      If a store offers 10% discount for long terms customers,You are saying no it should be either 100% discount for everyone. or else no discount for everyone!
      What kind of thinking is this?

      • Kapil Rana

        Assumption that people can afford smartphones and not data (when data charges are heading south further) is wrong. Large players like Facebook and telecom operators once allowed differential pricing will milk it to the hilt. Offering “free internet” is not philanthropy from facebook or telecom companies, it is an attempt at creating “branded internet” that goes against the principles on which internet was formed. No one organisation can monpolise internet. Even “father of internet” Mr Tim Berners lee has come out openly against this “restrictive internet”. Let facebook or telecom companies find another way to connect third world people through internet without curbing the freedom of internet users. Google and host of other companies are already doing it.

        • SingisKing

          You have not answered the question on how it is affecting you.
          If you are not going to use it,How are you going to be affected by it?

  • Shahid

    Hi Mahesh. It’s unbelievable the way corporations try to con. Thanks for putting everything in perspective on the lay public”s behalf. Please share with us how we go about the “re-shut” initiative. Anyways since I would be “freeing” myself from Facebook when Facebook hits us with freebies do let us know of any alternative channel to keep in contact with you on such public forums.

    • SingisKing

      Its up to you on what you want to use for social media.
      But you ,Me or mahesh or X don’t have the right to say No for Someone else’s Offer.
      The offer by Facebook is not for you,me,Mahesh ..It is for the Ones who cannot afford internet or don’t need to use full internet.
      Let them speak for themself .

  • SingisKing

    Another example..
    Lets say some launching a hotel announces free Non-Vegetarian meals to everyone on the first day.
    All the vegetarians come and oppose it saying They will not let it happen since there is no Free veg meals.
    They say it is Either free everything or Nothing free for anyone else!!
    In case of Facebook also it is the same case ..Why the hell you people who will not use it are opposing it.
    What is the problem if it is not related to you!!??

  • SingisKing

    What is your problem in this ??
    you and me are not even remotely related to this?
    It is for someone else..What is your business in this topic.
    If you are using full internet and someone is getting free basics..What the F is your Problem??
    Explain how it is going to affect you when you are not going to use it??

    • Girish Thavai

      I never saw this as business as you are trying to put nor it will affect me as person.
      But as a nation and integrity of this country, I care for my brothers and sisters but minds like you won’t understand it ever and will keep on blabbering with the F word.

  • SingisKing

    GENERAL ISSUE #4: The need for a public debate on Free Basics and net neutrality.

    FACEBOOK ASKS: Finally: Mahesh – would you agree to a public debate on this topic in front of an audience of developers (large and small), tech students and media? We’re game if you are.

    MAHESH RESPONDS: Absolutely. But why just developers and tech students? Let’s get all kinds of students, all kinds of entrepreneurs, lots of media, politicians and even the lay public. We could do it in Hindi too, if you like.

    **** Why MAHESH , entrepreneurs,politicians and public??
    It is not related to People like Mahesh or entrepreneurs or Politicians or Public who already use internet or can afford internet.
    Why are you talking for someone else..It should be from the People who it is intended for!!
    They will talk for themself!!
    Mahesh,I can arrange one for you in our Slum colony near by.
    You just have to come and say I am not related to FB or you.But i oppose it.

  • Rahul Ghosh

    Let Zuck and co try anything like this in the US, ridiculous attempt to get more India subs ..what are their lousy product teams doing anyways..they could have tried launching a chrome browser OS like Goog did…this kind of sugarcoated BS anti internet stunt called Free basics is totally OMINOUS and just shows how low they can stoop with cheap business tactics ?? #boycott FB indeed sign me up for that ..

    • SingisKing

      That is not related to you or Me.
      It is for people who are not using internet.
      This will benefit the Lower middle class and the Poor section in india.
      Lot of people like you,Mahesh are saying “If it is not for me,Not for anyone else also”

  • Jayshil Dave

    There is a problem if someone misunderstands Internet for Facebook 🙂 However, if its Free Basics as the name suggest 😛 why is it advertised in the first place just give the darn thing. Ohh ya i forgot RIL wants their numbers to increase since they provide the so called free internet (which is FaceBook). Also, does this so called free basics affect the charges and throttling of the full internet. Does a company like RIL say they wont change their tariff after Free Basics is introduced. And will Facebook agree there wont be any ads in the basic version. I saw a lot of analogy with free movies being shown and free non-veg 😛 (are they feasible? Answer simple and plain NO)

    People are not connected because
    1. They dont know what is Internet?
    2. They dont have the money for connecting?
    If its the second how will they connect to full internet as it claims?

    Will it be given to the poor who aren’t connected to the “internet” or all? If its all isn’t it taking people off the INTERNET instead of getting them on.

    And yes best about free if Facebook agrees no ads whatsoever and give this miniature internet free that would be nice. But note, what it does to other developers trying to get on will have no way to compete against it. Because you took away people using the internet to use jus FB.

    Just as a after thought wouldn’t you need a bloody phone for using this FreeBasics. Ohh wait you can spend on phone not the internet. Which phone are talking about? Its targeted to people who are decently capable of purchasing a phone but not internet. Or am i just reading a lot between the lines 😛

  • SingisKing

    Great Post Bp!!

    1. Overwhelming majority of Internet users have willingly gifted their
    privacy to Facebook and Google, which shows that the price of ‘privacy’ is
    extremely low. Several governments and competitors also spy on
    People/Companies. The argument about Facebook taking user’s data is weak. They
    already have it. The key is facebook’s ability to look at other app’s data.

    2. In a country where there is no freedom of speech (remember book/film
    bans/hate speech) or equality (reservation?), the ideals of ‘net neutrality’
    seem utopian. ‘Net neutrality’ in its absolute purity is not practiced in most
    countries. Most governments ban certain “indecent/terrorism related”
    websites. There are several other violations of this principle everyday. Many
    devices on purpose does not support certain kind of web-technologies (flash on
    earlier iPhones). As a consumer, the “whole internet” is rarely available. Most
    of all, “net neutrality” is just an idea like countless other noble
    ideas; it should not become a “value” in itself. It needs to be justified based
    on its merits.

    3. Every change in the status quo is resisted; there are some winners
    and some losers. The winners in “Free Basics” will be millions of
    poor people, majority of whom don’t have internet access yet. Some paying users
    will switch too, but those users are also a kind of basic users of the Internet.
    They use basic communication/entertainment apps but not contribute into
    e-commerce. The losers will be people who will pay for the “Free
    Basics” indirectly – the “whole internet” consumers & all internet
    companies, who will have to redesign the whole website to conform to Facebook
    standards as well as share their user privacy with Facebook.

    4. Other Internet companies (including much talked Indian startups)
    will not lose much because their paying customers are from the ‘class’, which
    will continue to use the “whole internet”.

    While I myself do not see enrolling for something like “Free Basics”, I have
    no right to object to ingenious market solutions that can offer “any”
    connectivity to the less fortunate people. In fact, ideals of free market and
    democracy, which are more fundamental to the modern civilization require that
    programs like “free basics” should be allowed for various companies.
    The consumers should be allowed to decide, whether they want this or not. The
    smart and powerful have no right to force their opinion on the rest of society.

  • Aanand Kumar

    Just to add, Network 18, as quoted by Facebook is not an independent site, whose acceptance of free basics, signifies another so called large network validating ‘free basics’. Network 18 is owned by Reliance, which is itself in this huddle with Facebook in this issue.

  • George Thomas

    Kudos to Mahesh Sir. Still shocked to see a good number of people supporting “free” basics.

  • Arpit Gupta

    Interesting debate, I believe the truth lies somewhere in between. While its not a bad idea to promote a service for profit, but disguising it as altruism is not so great. Some thoughts captured here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/debate-free-basics-internetorg-net-neutrality-way-forward-arpit-gupta