"Facebook's generosity is a cover for a land-grab."

Free Basics anything but

#Internet

Thu, Jan 7th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Facebook, which is well known for disregarding users' privacy and submitting them to various psychological tests, is now trying to introduce Free Basics, "a programme that gives its users free access to Facebook and a handful of other online services" on the smartphones of poor people in third world countries. Critics are however arguing that Facebook's "generosity" is nothing more than a "land-grab," which will force users into a "walled garden of Facebook-approved content," among other issues.

Critics of the programme say that Facebook’s generosity is a cover for a land-grab. They argue that Free Basics is a walled garden of Facebook-approved content, that it breaches consumer privacy by sucking up all the data generated by users of Free Basics, and that it is anticompetitive to boot. Moreover, critics fear that if new internet users are merely Facebook users, other online businesses will have no choice but to operate within Facebook’s world. Nandan Nilekani, an Indian tech luminary opposed to Free Basics, suggests that, instead, the government subsidises a monthly allowance of free mobile data for each user.

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