Major new market

Facebook’s free portal opens in India

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Facebook’s portal, which emerging-market carriers offer for free in order to give new customers a taste of the web, has rolled out in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Mahararashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Telangana. Provided by Reliance Communications, the app includes free access to almost 40 services and information sources. If someone wants to click through to the open web, they need to start paying. This scenario exemplifies the mixed impact of “zero-rating” particular content in emerging markets: it gets people online for the first time, offering potentially life-changing services from job search to farming information, but it also raises net neutrality issues by promoting the idea of Facebook’s portal effectively being the internet.

2 Responses to “Facebook’s free portal opens in India”

  1. caloumi

    It’s incredible that Facebook have the hide to promote this campaign in a Not For Profit feel good style, hoping to garner support (& financial assistance) from all corners. Let’s be clear – Facebooks’ intent is to prime it’s next massive market, the third world. Yes there will be some benefits, but the majority of internet use will be social media and sport etc. This is a fast track to cultural erosion and the massive overexposure of screentime that western countries are overwhelmed with. Let’s not kid ourselves as to who the real beneficiaries of this program are.

  2. If we consider that the main problem in India is to get a mobile network access and that the App is only available if a 3G network is available it seems that its impact will be limited…Light and simple Android applications exist that allow an internet connection to FB for instance no matter the network, no matter the carrier…