Info-tech

Over 8 lakh users on Facebook's Internet.org initiative in India

Priya sundarajan | | Updated on: May 25, 2015
BL26_FB_MARK

BL26_FB_MARK

CT24_Internet_technology.jpg

CT24_Internet_technology.jpg

Social media giant Facebook on Monday said it has over 8 lakh users on the Internet.org platform since it was launched in India in February. The platform, which allows users to access about 30 web sites without having to pay for data charges, is in operation in seven States on Reliance Communications' network.

Facebook has received flak from Internet activists for launching the platform which they believe violated principles of net neutrality. Facebook on the other hand has defended Internet.org as an initiative to get more users online. "Internet.org is helping people connect to the internet for the first time: Twenty per cent of Internet.org users were previously not active on mobile data (bringing new people online)," Facebook said.

It added that users are going beyond the free websites and have actually started paying for it. "For new internet users acquired by Internet.org, only 7 per cent of data usage was Internet.org (including Free FB). These new users are now consuming more than 100MB per month outside of Internet.org (i.e. People are paying for data from Reliance)," it added.

Internet.org was launched in India with Reliance Communications (RCOM) in early Feb. To start with, these services will be available for Reliance customers in the seven telecom circles (six Indian states) of Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The goal is to extend the services to the rest of the country in a phased manner, and gradually add more telecom operators and services ranging from news, maternal health, travel, local jobs, sports, communication, and local government information.

Facebook recently announced the Internet.org Platform, an open program for developers to easily create services that integrate with Internet.org.

"The goal of Internet.org is to allow more people to experience the benefits of being online. Latest data from the program points that people are accessing the services and that first time users are aware of how internet services are valuable to them. The Internet.org Platform aims to give people valuable free services that they can use to discover the entire wealth of online services and, ultimately become paying users of the internet," Facebook said.

The company said that the platform was helping users to not just get access to Internet but also to life-saving capabilities. For example, Social Blood is a free service that is available on Internet.org in India and Bangladesh. Irfan, a man from Dhaka, Bangladesh posted on the platform looking for 9 units of A+ blood for his wife's pregnancy operation. Irfan, a first time Internet user, got phone calls from 12 strangers offering their blood for his wife's operation.

Published on January 23, 2018

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