FB-TRAI face-off over Free Basics continues
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( TRAI) has criticised popular social networking site Facebook, saying it was influencing the country’s policy-making process through a “crudely majoritarian and orchestrated opinion poll”.
Also, the watchdog dismissed allegation that it has unsubscribed emails of millions of people containing support to Facebook’s controversial Free Basics concept that believes in spreading Internet connectivity using its platform in arrangement with telecom operators by offering free access to various websites on news, health, education and entertainment.
TRAI’s attempts to review the Free Basics service, which has gained public support, have triggered online outrage.
The telecom regulator reiterated that it believes in public consultation and questioned the responses sent by people using Facebook. TRAI said use of its platform does not “authorise” Facebook to speak on their behalf.
“Neither the spirit nor the letter of a consultative process warrants such an interpretation which, if accepted has dangerous ramifications for policy-making in India,” states the letter sent to Ankhi Das, director public policy, India, South and Central Asia, Facebook India.