Facebook’s Master Plan and TRAI’s response

                There’s this term “Free Basics” that has been a trending talk in India currently. No Guys, it’s not the ad by Basics Life India to provide Free Shirts. So what really is meant by “Free Basics”. Here it is,
Free Basics by Facebook provides free access to basic internet services to a billion people all over the world.
          This is the statement provided by Facebook in its Documentation part on its new Campaign. Facebook started this with the motive of providing free internet access to many people. The free basic services include news, maternal health, travel, local jobs, sports, communication, and local government information. I don’t know if Facebook is going to provide all these, but the Social Networking Giant says so.
            As I did not have a Reliance SIM card, which only currently supports the Free Basics app, it showed me the following error.
            So I took a few screens from the Play Store Preview of the App. Here they are,
screenshot1-1 screenshot2-1 screenshot3-1
That does give us a preview of how the App looks, though many who have used the App say that, it is a pared-down version of Facebook with other services such as weather reports and job listings.
            Osama Manzar, director of India’s Digital Empowerment Foundation, who had tried Facebook’s Free Basics service, said that “I feel betrayed — not only betrayed but upset and angry” and “He(Mark Zuckerberg) said we’re going to solve the problem with access and bandwidth. But Facebook is not the Internet.” on a post to Washington Post.
            Above all, what can Facebook really do with this data is let to your imaginations, with the recent news that Facebook rumored to release data of users from their private chats in Facebook’s Messenger “Nielsen is going to start tracking discussions that people have about TV on Facebook with their family and friends, even if that discussion isn’t marked as ‘public,’” says Re/code.
          Facebook’s been pushing it really hard to make this campaign a successful one by sending push notifications and ads on this campaign on its Social Network. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) addressed the issue and it said to reject differential pricing for data services. A move by TRAI that would mean the end of Facebook’s Free Basics and also services like Airtel Zero.
            My personal opinion on this move by Facebook is that it will result in a huge privacy outrage and providing all the data to a single organization other than the Government is always a danger to the Democracy of the country. With all those data of Millions of people in the country, Facebook can keep its hands in Politics and decide the fate of the country and its people. You may think I’m exaggerating but everything is a possibility in this current world, isn’t it?
Source – BGR, TOI, WashingtonPost, Re/code.
I’m an avid Tech Enthusiast and an aspiring Security Researcher!
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