Mahesh Murthy, Quartz:
Here’s how the scheme works. Facebook approaches a telco — in India’s case, Reliance — and offers to pay them the bandwidth costs of serving Facebook site and a small group of other sites.
So when the poor, who in theory can’t afford a net connection come to the Facebook Zero service confusingly called Internet.org, they’re made to believe they’re on the internet while in reality they’re only on Facebook and a few hand-picked sites.
And the sites too are picked in secret under some unknown process. For instance, Facebook chose to offer the distant-second search engine Bing instead of industry-leading Google. Why? Is it rivalry with Google? Or because of Microsoft’s stake in Facebook? And then Facebook’s Zero product features a tiny job site like Babajob instead of the industry-leading Naukri. Why? So that the poor have fewer job options? No one knows. Facebook doesn’t feature YouTube — the largest video site in the world and an immense education resource — but allows its own videos in full. It doesn’t really look like charity any more, does it?