World over, the rich and poor, black or white, short or tall celebrate love on the February 14, buying roses, chocolate, wine, cake and having delicious lunches and sumptuous dinners with their loved ones. Whether the meals are free or come with obligations-love, unlike marriage is not a public issue.
If you want to check the history of this day of love, which is not in itself a holiday, but accompanied with pompous celebrations beating all major holidays, you are free to search (Google) because of the democracy and availability of the Internet-which comes with a price.
According to The Telegraph (UK),“The feast of St Valentine of February 14th was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.”
The paper says before Valentine’s Day, Emperor Claudius II had banned marriages in his empire as marriage made men bad soldiers. However, one man of God, St Valentine allegedly arranged marriages in secret against the ban. When word reached the King, St Valentine was jailed awaiting his execution set for February 14th. Reports says St Valentine fell in love with the King’s daughter and secretly wrote her a letter the morning before his execution. The secret lover was allegedly signed ‘from your Valentine’. So St Valentines day is not free but was paid for by someone’s life. Facebook’s Free Basics is as well paid for by someone but for different reasons.
There’s nothing as a free lunch
There’s nothing as a free lunch and India just banned Free Basics for that reason just a few days before Valentine’s Day. India Facebook lead Kirthiga Reddy stepped down and Facebook immediately pulled Free Basics from the country though Reliance Communications and some telcos are asking the government so they relaunch it as a paid service open to all apps.
source:http: Economic Times India
There will be more implications to the social media giant, not just PR or its low revenues but on user acquisition as the backlash might discourage young and mis-informed new users from joining the platform.
India is Facebook’s second-largest market after the US with over 138 million users outside US and Canada and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg says he has the country at heart.
“India has been personally important to me and Facebook,” Zuckerberg said. “Early on in my thinking about our mission, I traveled to India and was inspired by the humanity, spirit and values of the people. It solidified my understanding that when all people have the power to share their experiences, the entire world will make progress.”
And he’s right. India is personally important to Facebook, both for the numbers and later for the dollars. He’s moving quickly, working with Reliance Communications-his telco partner, to Free Basics a paid for platform.
Zuckerberg added that Facebook ‘stands for helping to connect people and giving them voice to shape their own future’.In Africa, and India, both once British colonies. But helping is an old synonym of ‘taking’ in such colonies because most of those that came in the name of ‘helping’ took 100X back home than what they brought home.
Helping is an old synonym of taking
As a social network, Facebook is a good business, connecting users to their friends and family and as well giving them a voice against repressive regimes like it was in Egypt. However, Facebook is in the content and advertising business for its global partners.
Free Basics-even with the rebrand from Internet.org as a service doesn’t get people online. The truth is you need a smartphone, tablet or computer to connect to either mobile or fixed broadband. Content has never been a problem anywhere. With an affordable smartphone, anyone can search for jobs, date, access news and listen to music. But Zuckerberg, a Physchology major and an on-off volunteer teacher has a grasp of psychology of learning.
According to The American Psychological Association (APA), psychology of learning is an experiential learning process that creates long-term behavior change. So by exposure to Free Basics, users will know this is the entire Internet and they will pass that on to friends and family even to other generations.
“Brain science and cognitive psychologists study how the human mind thinks, remembers and learns. They apply psychological science to understand how we make decisions and perceive our world,”says APA.
So with Free Basics, Facebook will not need billboards or radio adverts to get users hooked. Free Basics will be that experimental and mind changing tool to get users to Facebook. The numbers bring in more advertisers.
Nobody fears colonization anymore. Economists already finished that and termed Greater Asia, Africa and LatAm as the ‘Third World’ opening markets for US and European products which are deemed as superior to those from China, where the iPhone and iMacs are manufactured. Economists weren’t the first tools funded with millions by imperialists demonize other regions of the world. The education system mentioned Africans as slaves and house helps, and collaborators made a fortune during slavery. China has been closed to most western companies due to that. You change a culture you take over the mind subconsciously, and the markets and labour follows.
Some companies like Twitter and Uber and AirBnb and several others might play victim mentality to penetrate those markets one day or through Guerrilla marketing but Facebook had a raw deal-get a few collaborators on ground like Airtel, Reliance Communications and nice partners like UNICEF, bundle apps as aid to the poor then begin their great marketing strategy from telcos, foreign governments, software developers and consumers; give them a nice reception and few zero-rated services which will become the Internet.
Other competing apps won’t fairly compete after a decade, hence the intervention of The Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
TRAI’s earlier ban and the ban last week is not due to poverty or colonialism but a mission to protect Net Neutrality-all players online have the same ground and let their products be bought or ignored like a normal marketplace, Facebook lite included, among others.
Trai’s statement above
After the first and second deliberations, TRAI says, “This consultation primarily sought the views of the stakeholders on whether the service providers should be allowed to charge tariffs based on the websites/applications/platforms being accessed on the Internet. Based on the responses received and the internal deliberations of the regulations, the Authority has issued these regulations. While formulating the regulations, the Authority has largely been guided by the principles of Net Neutrality seeking to ensure that consumers get unhindered and non-discriminatory access to the internet. The Regulations intend to make data tariffs for access to the internet to be content agnostic.”
An Open Internet means consumers can go where they want, when they want. This principle is often referred to as Net Neutrality. For an Open Internet, broadband service providers cannot block or deliberately slow speeds for Internet services or apps, create special “fast lanes” for content, or engage in other practices that harm Internet openness like what Free Basics is doing.
The FCC’s Open Internet‘rules protect and maintain open, uninhibited access to lawful online content.”
The rules, prohibit ISPs from blocking or favouring access to lawful content, applications, services deliberately.
ISPs should not target some lawful Internet traffic to be delivered to users more slowly than other traffic or favor some Internet traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind — in other words, no “fast lanes.” ISPs are also banned from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates on both fixed and mobile broadband service to protect your access to the Internet.”
Free Basic is doing the opposite of the FCC rules by providing ‘people with access to some services on their mobile phones in markets where internet access may be less affordable. The websites are available for free without data charges, and include content on things like news, employment, health, education and local information.’
Facebook thinks that by introducing people to these free services or apps it will ‘bring more people online and help improve their lives.’
That’s not true as in Kenya’s example, hundreds of thousands got online when Safaricom partnered with Huawei to launch the Ideos smartphones in the country.
Free Basics, formerly Internet.org is Facebook’s initiative to connect the 2/3 of the world to Facebook itself and not to the Internet as Google Fibre, Balloons or Facebook’s own Satellite Project and Solar-powered drones.
Though Facebook says Free Basics is an open platform, it is not really open as every application has to follow ‘the technical and participation guidelines’ to be added to Free Basics, against the principles of Net Neutrality-an open internet as is.
In the words of Tim Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School, “A neutral network might be designed without legal prodding – as in the original internet. In an ideal world, either competition or enlightened self-interest might drive carriers to design neutral networks.”
The then Google CEO Eric Schmidt (now Alphabet) also supports an open internet for all. He says, “Creativity, innovation and a free and open marketplace are all at stake in this fight.”
But against the FCC’s principles of an Open Internet, Free Basics says ‘ To use Free Basics, you must have a SIM card from one of the mobile operator partners in participating countries, in Kenya that’s Airtel. Another noble organization, The Praekelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics is working hard to ‘help’ 100 organizations build apps ‘compatible’ with Free Basics for lower end phones on slower connections.
The Praekelt Foundation Incubator, a joint project from Facebook and the Praekelt Foundation is offering 100 social change organizations $200,000 each in services and support, including technical tools, content development and management support, capacity building consulting, and leadership training to get their content to Free Basics.
“We encourage compressing content whenever possible,” Free Basics says. “People accessing your service may be in network-constrained areas, where lightweight mobile experiences will run more optimally. Your service may not rely on SVG images as these may not function on the Free Basics Platform. If you have SVG images present, please make sure that they can fall back to PNG, GIF, or JPEG.”
To sign up to the platform, the developers ought to have a Facebook account but content made available by participants through Free Basics Platform is owned and controlled by those participants and not Facebook but the firm adds that the content passes through Facebook servers and Facebook has whatever rights may be needed to proxy that content.
For it to work, Free Basics shouldnt instruct developers on what to do or not to do. The initiative should also not pick apps such as Malaria No More, MoneyMatters, Social Blood, SuperSport, UNICEF, Wattpad among others for users as this is against the principle of an Open Internet for all.
Facebook knows this is illegal but has ignored the White House statement (above) and has already signed up over 38 countries in Africa and many more in Asia and LatAm. The move by India to ban is on principle and even though a number of African countries are yet to pass laws governing Net Neutrality, there’s a high possibility they will catch up with India and the rest of the world and close out Free Basics.
Free Basics still wants to expand by giving Mobile Operators like Airtel Kenya “with a sustainable program that addresses each step of the new subscriber journey such as paying for new customer acquisition, paying for free data access among others. This is a raw deal and against the principles of an open market or open internet.