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Net neutrality questioned as Facebook opens Internet.org platform

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

As it opens up its new Internet.org platform to developers, social media giant Facebook is coming under fire with claims it is compromising the components of net neutrality.

The platform has been opened to allow developers to create apps to support its system, a move that has been met with backlash from those who say the platform’s guidelines go against the basic elements of net neutrality.

Internet.org is allowing developers to build apps, but criticisms are rising when the details are looked at. The company holds the power to approve or deny apps, which may or may not be offered by certain telcos. On top of that, these services have to provide Facebook with user data, which can then be shared with telcos and governments.

Facebook says Internet.org will play a role in providing internet access to the 4 billion without connectivity and Mark Zuckerberg has hit back at those claiming it flies in the face of net neutrality. The Facebook CEO says that net neutrality “can and must coexist” with the company’s moves to provide the world with internet connectivity.

While many are complaining the platform has only been opened to certain websites and apps, Zuckerberg says it is simply “not sustainable to offer the whole internet for free”.

The requirements, in order for a developer to be given access to the platform, include making sure that apps not use Flash, JavaScript, and the HTTPS communications protocol; not include videos, hi-res photos, video chats and other data-sensitive features; and ensure that users be incited to pay for access.