You may have seen that notification on facebook saying your friends supported Free Basics and you should do too. Do you know what was that about?
Last week, Facebook had launched a deceptive email campaign on their platform for garnering support for Free Basics from Facebook users. Most people had no idea what they were doing. I bet most of the people who sent those emails also sent the emails supporting net neutrality a while back.
Do you know what Free basics is?
‘Free Basics’ is an app you can download to access some particular websites and online services for free. Currently, the app has been put on hold by TRAI. The app was previously working with Reliance Communications connection and facebook wants TRAI to approve this.
With the restriction Facebook has put on Free Basics, you cannot watch videos, you cannot place video calls, you cannot share files, you cannot view quality images, there’ll be no banking or money related transactions as secure content is not supported. And one more thing, if you are the owner of a website, your content can be removed or blocked in Free Basics. Wasn’t the whole point of internet supposed to be freedom? What about Net neutrality, uh?
Facebook says they won’t use your brand in a larger marketing promotion without first asking for your approval. Now, who wouldn’t want promotion of their business by Facebook? If I give you a platform where users can access your content for free and on priority, would you not pay me more to advertise on my platforms? Doesn’t this seem familiar to a marketing pitch? And doesn’t this stand against Net Neutrality?
Last but certainly not the least, security can also be a big concern when it comes to Free Basics.
Facebook’s guidelines for developers state that a website’s content passes through Facebook’s servers, information is temporarily decrypted on their secure servers to ensure proper functionality of the services and to avoid unexpected charges to people. If information passes through Facebook’s servers and is temporarily decrypted, can it really be safe?
Does anyone remember the movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service”? The evil guy gives out free SIM card with free internet and it turns out to be, let’s put it this way, something really bad. I see the same in Free Basics. It may not be bad for the user, but it’s bad for a lot of other people. And please believe when I say this- “Nothing is free in this world, Everything comes at a price”. In this case, you may not be the one paying the price, but someone has to pay right?