As net neutrality rules begin to grow stronger, with new regulations scheduled to be set by the FCC, Mark Zuckerberg is facing much debate against his new service internet.org, an app that helps provide free internet to people who can not regularly access the internet through traditional routes. Recently some Indian publishers took issue with some of the content that was being offered through the site, as they stated that the website is very selective in offering certain services but limiting access to other services. Though many are saying Zuckerberg is violating net neutrality, his invention is one that is only meant to help, not give away everything without cost.
Net neutrality rules guarantee that certain providers do not limit access to certain parts of the internet or charge users higher fees for accessing certain things. However, some mobile broadband providers have been doing just that. Now the FCC has issued new rules and regulations that have set a standard for what mobile broadband companies can do. According the the FCC’s rules that are suppose to start on June 12, providers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc. can no longer limit access to certain web applications and sites, limit the speed of such applications and sites, and can not charge fees for better treatment, in a nut shell. While the FCC rules are much more complicated in depth, the gist of it is that wireless carriers must strongly revise their mobile broadband plans.
Not only has the debate over net neutrality caused many new lawsuits, it has caused many to question Zuckerberg over his new website which goes against what net neutrality is all about. While many have always wondered whether his site was fully legal, the issue raised by the Indian publishers have brought a lot of bad publicity for Zuckerberg. However, Zuckerberg does have his technological heart in the right place, but in the wrong way according to many.
What Zuckerberg is trying to do is provide internet services to people, especially in other countries who can not access the internet and its applications, for various reasons. Zuckerberg created a site designed to get more people connected to the World Wide Web. However, in his quest to help people access internet apps without access to the internet, he has in fact violated net neutrality rules.
This, however is an appropriate and essential thing if Zuckerberg is to allow users to access the internet, in places where they normally can not. The problem is that Zuckerberg’s new site only allows users free access to certain apps and parts of the internet but not others. Since net neutrality guarantees that users can have access to all sites and services, many companies are upset because they feel Zuckerberg is favoring the companies with which he has made deals with but not allowing the users of internet.org to access their stuff.
Zuckerberg replied in a Facebook post that he could not possibly allow users to access every app and site, as he could not provide all of the internet for free. He wrote that internet providers spend tens of billions of dollars in order to offer services for the traffic they get. He wrote that it would be impossible to give the entire internet away for free, and he is right.
What Zuckerberg has done is allow people to have internet access when they can not normally have such. This is a great invention in the eyes of those who are able to access some internet instead of none. Though it is not politically correct that Zuckerberg only provides apps and services from companies with which he has a deal, he could not allow users to simply access all of the internet without cost.
Zuckerberg says he supports net neutrality 100 percent but that he can not provide access to everything without charging a price. If providers continue to complain over internet.org’s selective internet access, the site may have to either dissolve or begin charging users. Neither one of these solutions will be acceptable for those who are currently able to use internet.org’s services and apps. But the debate over net neutrality has certainly come back to bite Zuckerberg in the “behind” and the complaints against him are getting stronger.
Opinion by Crystal Boulware