FreeBasics — Concerns

Facebook is attempting to monopolise Internet access in India (actually Asia & Africa)for a billion odd customers by trying to influence the regulator.

As a company — I can’t blame them for trying it out. Who wouldn’t — it’s such a massive market!

In fact the enormity is evident in the number of tactics and the sheer force they are putting behind this effort.

My concerns with FreeBasics:

  • No serious competitors to FB — not hiding the intentions to monopolise in any way, are we. It’s a very small list of Internet services — not surprisingly, it doesn’t have Twitter or Google. I’m sure the 2 of them don’t want the Indian consumers.
  • Who would approve services to get listed on FreeBasics? (dumb question — Facebook of course).
  • How would FB decide? (Doh — why should they tell you — at least their current website doesnt).
  • The way Facebook got people to send an email to TRAI was highly deceptive. Leaving Internet in the hands of any single company is very dangerous — leaving it to the whims of a company that’s willing to fool users to meet their goals — is outright suicide.
  • Reliance is already promoting this service on TV and their website — without this having gotten a nod from the regulator.
  • They are apparently also asking people outside India, using WhatsApp and SMS for marketing this to users — supposedly leveraging data and networks that they own for purpose that’s not yet proven kosher.
  • The zeal with which Facebook is promoting it as a social good — it’s like solving poverty!
  • It’s a coincidence that this massive marketing push is happening at the same time when TRAI is asking again about the premise for net neutrality.

It’s clearly a massive distribution push by an already monopolistic company to further monopolise Indian Internet by influencing the regulator.

Let’s please not allow this.

Head over to and send email to TRAI

And do not fall for the Facebook trap.