Free Basics blew up in Facebook’s face in Egypt and India, but how will it fare in the US?
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is reportedly looking into launching its Free Basics internet service in the US of all places, as Washington Post reported that the social media giants are in talks with government officials and carriers about the service.
Facebook introduced its internet service that was initially targeted at regions where internet connectivity is scarce or limited, called Free Basics, but it swiftly attracted controversy in two of the regions where it was launched. First in Egypt, the service was banned due to a clash with the Egyptian government when it couldn’t prove to be an adequate tool for surveillance.
Then in India, net neutrality, which also reared its head in Egypt, popped up once again, and this time it took Free Basics down with itself. Now, in the United States, Facebook is again targeting users that do not have access to high-speed internet, especially in under-developed areas. But after the difficulties that it has faced in two major countries previously, Facebook is now treading lightly in the US.
Free Basics is running in 49 countries with varying degrees of success, but after the idea of Free Basics is floated in the country, it is almost certain that that debate will come up once again. This is why Facebook is already in conversation with the authorities to allow users to connect to various services through its network and not incur data charges.
It seems Facebook has learnt its lesson from the experiences in Egypt and India and it is looking to avoid the mistakes it previously made. That is why talks are already underway between the two parties, and we will surely know more about it not too long from now.