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Zuckerberg in favour of 100 percent net neutrality

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New Delhi: Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday reiterated the need of an open internet platform like its proprietary initiative Internet.org in India while reminding that Facebook always supported net neutrality.

“We have always adhered to net neutrality regulations but there are several countries who still do not have norms in place,” Zuckerberg said at the Facebook India townhall meeting at IIT Delhi.

“We will adapt to them as soon as they are in place as we are in the favour of being 100 percent net neutral,” Zuckerberg said.

The townhall at IIT Delhi follows the Menlo Park chapter at Facebook headquarters which was held during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second US visit.

“Free basics programme under the Internet.org initiative aims to connect the next billion people and we cannot miss India in that vision as it is one of the largest democracies in the world,” the chief executive told a gathering of 1,100 people expressing his discontent in some way over the ongoing debate about net neutrality.

Further explaining his stand, he said “Free basics does not intend to harm anyone — neither the consumers nor the operators. Any developer who can stream low-data consuming content can be a part of the platform.”

“Internet.org is currently live in 24 countries and has 50 million subscribers. India itself has nearly over one million people subscribed to the platform,” Zuckerberg said reiterating his favourite example of quoting a research that claims that every 10 people connected to the internet lifts one life out of poverty.

He also said that over half of the nine million users of Internet.org service signed up for a paid-for data package of some kind within the first month.

It has directly led phone owners to adopt new services 50 percent faster than they otherwise would.

Currently, India has no regulations on net neutrality. Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a reply to the Lok Sabha said “the committee of the department of telecommunications on net neutrality has submitted its report. However, it is not the final report nor the government has taken any final view.”

“Based on the report, comments and suggestions received and recommendations of TRAI, the government will take a considered decision on various aspects of net neutrality, in the best interest of the country,” Prasad said.

(IANS)

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg To Testify Before a US-Canada ‘Grand Committee”

Joining forces with Canada — and perhaps other countries — seems designed to prod Zuckerberg and persuade him to change his mind.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. VOA

Parliamentary committees in Britain and Canada on Wednesday urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before a joint hearing of international lawmakers examining fake news and the internet.

Damian Collins, the head of the U.K. parliament’s media committee, is joining forces with his Canadian counterpart, Bob Zimmer, to pressure Zuckerberg to personally take part in hearings, as he did before the U.S Congress and the European Parliament. The so-called “international grand committee” session would be held Nov. 27 and could include lawmakers from other countries.

Facebook, Child nudity, Iran
A protester wearing a mask with the face of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is flanked by two fellow activists wearing angry face emoji masks, during a protest against Facebook policies, in London, Britain (From archives) VOA

“We understand that it is not possible to make yourself available to all parliaments. However, we believe that your users in other countries need a line of accountability to your organization — directly, via yourself,” the pair said in a letter to Zuckerberg. “We would have thought that this responsibility is something that you would want to take up.”

Social media companies have been under scrutiny in Britain following allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica used data from tens of millions of Facebook accounts to profile voters and help U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. The committee is also investigating the impact of fake news distributed via social media sites globally.

Facebook, India, Fake News
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at a Facebook developers conference in San Jose, California. VOA

Collins has been irate with Facebook for sending Zuckerberg’s underlings to his committee’s hearings while the leader of the Silicon Valley company declined invitations to attend. Joining forces with Canada — and perhaps other countries — seems designed to prod Zuckerberg and persuade him to change his mind.

Also Read: Twitter Still Remains A Hotbed For Account Spreading Fake News: Study

“No such joint hearing has ever been held,” the pair wrote. “Given your self-declared objective to ‘fix’ Facebook, and to prevent the platform’s malign use in world affairs and democratic process, we would like to give you the chance to appear at this hearing.” (VOA)