Even social giants fall short sometimes. The initial response to Internet.org, a project created by Facebook to provide a streamlined internet experience for first-time users, specifically those in less privileged areas of the world, has proven less than favorable. While a noble idea, the program has faced criticism over Facebook’s decision to handpick the content that users get to see. This has been called both a violation of net neutrality, and just overall poor policy.
Facebook has heard the criticism and is now aiming to change their ways, announcing that Internet.org will be modified into a full platform with a more transparent and inclusive modus operandi, in the hopes of extending the benefits of connectivity to diverse, local communities. Facebook also added that users will soon be able to leave the main hub and access third-party services.
This is good news for outside developers, but Facebook has some strict stipulations for them to follow, namely:
- Services should encourage the exploration of the broader internet wherever possible.
- Websites that require high-bandwidth will not be included. Services should not use VoIP, video, file transfer, high resolution photos, or high volume of photos.
Internet.org was first available in a handful of African countries, but it has since expanded to Asia as well, with launches in India (population of 1 billion+) and Indonesia (population of 250 million), among others.
Facebook hopes that this new open-source approach will quell the dissent that has been spreading, but time will tell if they actually relax their grip on the program.