Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Monday made renewed pitch for its controversial Free Basics Internet service in yet another marketing blitz saying it protects net neutrality.
Facebook’s proposed Free Basics plan allows customers to avail of services like education, health care and employment listings through apps specially designed for this platform on their phones without a data plan but does not allow access to many services such as YouTube, Gmail, Google or Twitter.
Zuckerberg appeared on a video to personally promote Free Basics and also wrote a personal appeal in one of the leading newspapers.
While Free Basics allows users to access a small number of Web services without charge, it has been criticised by some for alleged violation of the principle of net neutrality, a concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.
“We believe that connectivity is a human right and that getting connectivity for the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation.
“When people are connected, we can accomplish some pretty amazing things.
“We can get closer to the people that we care about, we can get access to new jobs and opportunities and ideas.
“We can receive education and healthcare and communication and access to new services,” he said in the video post.
He said connectivity can’t just be a privilege for some of the rich and powerful and needs to be something that everyone shares and an opportunity for everyone.
“I hope you will join us in doing this.”
Keen to tap the world’s largest offline population, Zuckerberg in an opinion piece in the daily compared Free Basics to a library — which houses only a selection of books — as well as to public healthcare and education.