Facebook is great at inflicting their service on captive audiences. Yesterday, I was super stoked that Lufthansa had free internet on my flight! Except it wasn’t free internet. It was free Facebook. Real internet cost 9 euro an hour.
It was like Internet.org, but for rich people. Internet.org is Facebook’s initiative to bring a limited version of the internet to developing countries, allowing locals access to a handpicked selection of websites, including (obviously) Facebook. The service was banned in India for violating the principles of net neutrality.
We take unrestricted internet for granted around here. The sum total of my knowledge comes from stuff I read on the Internet, and that’s true for most people I know. But what if the internet was limited to Facebook and its incredibly stupid list of What’s Trending?
During the flight, I created a proxy app to act as a window to the outside world. But the view isn’t the same when it’s lined with Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of what I should be looking at. And while I could have paid 9 euro for unrestricted access, this is the only view available to people in developing countries if they want any internet at all.
Facebook wants to become a primary news destination, the homepage of the internet. But curated news media isn’t information; corporations have to avoid offending advertisers and shareholders. The only free press is the collective internet, and that’s exactly what Facebook’s Internet.org is not.