Neither free nor basic

Social media giant Facebook’s aggressive advertising campaign in newspapers across India has stirred up a hornets’ nest yet again over ownership and regulation of information on the Internet. Facebook’s much-touted “Free Basics” service, which has been couched in philanthropic terms as providing access to “basic” Internet services to millions of Indians for free through a mobile data application, has come under criticism from Net neutrality activists and concerned citizens who perceive it as anti-competitive and a threat to democracy in the virtual space.

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