Despite widespread criticism in neighbouring India about contravening the virtues of net neutrality, Facebook is soldiering on with its rollout of Internet.org in more countries. Pakistan is the next one on the line and the service will be launched tomorrow, May 28th.
Facebook is partnering with Pakistan’s leading mobile network operator Telenor to launch the service. Telenor will offer users access to upto 20 websites for free.
Pakistan will become the 12th country to have Internet.org launch with Malawi being the most recent. The service now reaches over a billion users across Africa, Asia and South America.
While Facebook’s mission is to provide easy access to essential web apps and services to those who cannot access the internet due mainly to prohibitively high costs and lack of network infrastructure in remote places, opponents of the initiative argue that it is in bad faith and meant to create a dependency syndrome and lock down users to just a few sites instead of granting them access to the entire world wide web. This has seen several key partners pull out in countries like India. Concerns have also been raised about the privacy of users as there is no encryption like HTTPS.