Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched Internet.org with the aim of taking the whole world online. Since inception in 2014, the project launched in Zambia, India, Colombia, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, the Philippines and Indonesia. The platform has previously faced criticism for not abiding by the principles of net neutrality by allowing faster access to some sites. Facebook has announced that any company can sign up, as long as they abide by specific technical guidelines aimed at keeping data consumption law.
The guidelines stipulated by Facebook include encouraging the exploration of the internet by users. Websites with services such as VoIP, video, file transfer, high resolution photos, or high volume of photos that require high-bandwidth will not be included onto the platform. The websites will also be built for optimized for browsing on feature and smartphone and on limited bandwidth. To access the facility, people must use special Android apps, Internet.org’s website, Facebook’s own Android app or the Opera Mini browser.
Internet.org was limited to a few websites that included Wikipedia, the Facts for Life health site run by the United Nations Children’s Fund, BBC News, Facebook, Accuweather and a selection of local news and sports results providers. The opening up of the platform will allow other developers to join is thus welcome. Facebook has confirmed that it track users’ online activity but all it governed by Facebook’s standard data policies.