Facebook 'Accidentally' Asks US-Based Users to Support Free Basics in India

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Facebook 'Accidentally' Asks US-Based Users to Support Free Basics in India

Facebook's 'Save Free Basics' Campaign, which was launched last week to drive support for its Free Basics initiative in India, was briefly made available to US-based users on Monday.

Reports on Twitter by users came in today that users who are not in India are seeing the petition page to support Free Basics.

In a statement given to Re/code, Facebook called it an accident, saying that it was turned on for a short period of time, and that the campaign has only been on for English-speakers in India. As we had noted earlier, the page can be accessed by anyone online, and signed anonymously in Incognito mode, which could invalidate the results of the campaign.

We accidentally turned on this notification for some people outside India this evening for a short period of time - it's been on for English-speakers in India for several days now.

Facebook's Save Free Basics campaign is also being run over SMS in Hindi, with front-page ads on English newspapers to drive support for its zero-rated platform, in response to Trai's consultation paper issued earlier this month, inviting comments on zero-rated services like Airtel Zero and Internet.org.

Meanwhile, the SaveTheInternet volunteers, who had previously managed to send 1.1 million emails to Trai in April have relaunched their website with a pre-written response, starting with a request not to publish email address on its website like it had previously.

Addressed to RS Sharma, Chairman, Trai, and Vinod Kotwal, Advisor (F&EA), Trai, the 3,500 word response reiterates the principle of Net Neutrality, which doesn't provide a competitive advantage to any website, app, or platform.

It is my belief that the goals of access and network neutrality are incredibly important for India and the Trai must further them both rather than falling prey to the falsehood - as sought to be portrayed by some commercial interests - that one is opposed to the other.

Bulletin Babu, a Twitter handle which keeps a count of number of emails sent, has currently logged 7,500 emails so far.


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