Launched in 2013 by Facebook, the initiative “Internet.org” wants to develop Internet access for all. Three years later and after being implanted with this initiative in 22 African countries, the company Mark Zuckerberg is taxed by some to want to increase its market share.
” Internet.org is an initiative led by Facebook that aims to bring the benefits of connectivity to two thirds of the population who do not have these resources ,” says the site Internet.org. The concept is simple: through partnerships with local mobile operators, Facebook allows access “to useful services from mobile phones without data charges, in markets where Internet access can be expensive. ”
Mark Zuckerberg described the Internet as a “fundamental human right of” a concept he defended the end of 2015 the UN forum by presenting its “Connectivity Declaration”, signed by Bill and Melinda Gates Bono, or Charlize Theron.
According to the International Telecommunication Union in 2016, 74.9% of Africa did not have access to the Internet, against 20.9% in Europe . According to the same institute in 2015 the 10 countries with the lowest connection rates were all African. The Eritrea , the Somalia , theNiger , as the three least-connected countries, with a rate of access to Internet of theirpopulation below 2.5%.
The initiative Free Basics is operational in 42 countries, more than half are in Africa. Latest contract, the Californian company struck a deal with the African subsidiary of the Indian operator Bharti Airtel in Nigeria to offer more than 85 free services related to health, education,employment and finance, in the country.
A new form of colonialism?
If Mark Zuckerberg claims to bring Internet to those who do not have access, some point to the monopoly that Facebook is trying to create . Asked by the British newspaper The Guardian , Timothy Karr, the campaign launched by 23 European NGO “Save the Internet”, says that we must not forget the will of Zuckerberg’s ” dominate the Internet market .”
” Facebook is not the Internet and restrict Internet [to Facebook] does not give people apower policy , controlling power ,” he continues. The Free Basics initiative makes binding effect in the use of the California site to access certainly free services offered.
The latter has already gnashing of teeth when it was launched in India in 2015. At the time, Marc Andreessen, one of the programmers in 1993 the first web browser, Mosaic, was denounced on social networks ban by the India Free Basics in the country, before continuingin an incendiary message: ” the anti-colonialism has been catastrophic for years for the Indians , he wrote. Why stop now? ”
Mark Zuckerberg had reacted at the time … on Facebook, repeating that the goal of the company was not glean market on that telecommunications called “white areas”, isolated places where the network n is not received. With only one in four people living in Africa and is connected to the Internet, the many contracts signed between the company and Blue African operators logically stimulus debate.
“The network social soon became slow”
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), internet access is 3.80% for an estimated population in 2013 to 67.5 million people. ” The slow development of optical fiber and Internet clippings show that the government does not facilitate access to the Internet in the DRC” , explains Jean-Didier Ogobani, professor of ICT at the National Pedagogical University of Kinshasa. In August 2015, Facebook has partnered with Tigo, the well-established Luxembourg operator in the DRC to launch “Free Basics” in the country.
“But the operation lasted only one time and do not prove conclusive, explains Jean-Didier Ogobani. There was congestion of the channel, the social network became heavy and slow. Customers therefore have preferred to pay order to navigate smoothly rather than drag to access Facebook for free. “
The professor stressed that Tigo was satisfied with the operation ” and signed a big contract .”In a context where access to information is difficult in the country, this kind of initiative remains, he said, still in salute . ” The media today all have Facebook pages. When we have this social network for free, you can at least know news headlines and read the following if one wants , he analyzes. Without having to pay credit, the public is informed. ”
In late July, the boss of the Californian company, Mark Zuckerberg, assured on his Facebook page that 1.7 billion people has an account on the social network.