Facebook rebrands controversial Internet.org as Free Basics

Facebook's Internet.org initiative — through which the social networking giant provides a set of essential internet-based services for free — came under criticism last year over net neutrality concerns. Those in opposition of the initiative said that the services included with Internet.org would gain an unfair advantage over competing services that would not be accessible for free. Facebook has addressed those issues shortly thereafter, stating that Free Basics will be an open platform, and that anyone can make their service available for free.

The second big change is support for HTTPS, along with end-to-end encryption for the website wherever possible. The Android app already comes with end-to-end encryption. The app as well as website now offer access to over 250 services in 19 countries around the world, with 60 new services added to the platform. For those residing in India, the service is only accessible if you're a Reliance subscriber, although Facebook has mentioned that it is working with other carriers to make Free Basics available to a wider audience.

Mark Zuckerberg announced the changes, stating:

We want to make it clear that the apps you can use through Internet.org are free, basic services that can give you access to essential resources like BabyCenter.Connectivity isn't an end in itself. It's what people do with it that matters -- like raising a healthy family. We hope the improvements we've made today help even more people get connected -- so that our whole global community can benefit together.

Source: Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg)

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia for Android Central, Windows Central's sister site. When not reviewing phones, he's testing PC hardware, including video cards, motherboards, gaming accessories, and keyboards.

  • *basics
  • What happened to TRAI decision? Wasn't that supposed to give verdict on Net Neutrality?
    P.S: Are we getting an update for WC app? It is too buggy on 10536.
  • What's buggy about it?
  • Well the live tile doesnt clear it seems
  • I agree, the app is sooooo slow!
  • Same. Selecting an article takes over 10seconds to load said article
  • ^This. Why not start a dedicated thread of not present?
  • Not gonna happen. It's mentioned every article and no one from WC ever chimes in. That plus no stories about it prob means it is what it is. You know they love reporting on good news here so if it was in development they would write about it. I wouldn't wait up.
  • Daniel has said multiple times that the existing developer has left Mobile Nations and they have a new developer working on a universal app.
  • That's a Windows 10 bug involving verifying if you own the app or not. It hangs every time the app decides whether to show you an ad. It only happens when you've upgraded a build without factory resetting your phone, and a factory reset fixes it.
  • Why would they update an app for a beta operating system...?
  • i'm seeing Valentine here from kingsman.
  • Facebook = FB, Free Basics = FB ...
  • Thats right!!!
  • Still Facebook have no Official app In windowsphone.... They made only messenger
  • Oh stop you know that's untrue
  • That's very true, actually. Our "official" Facebook app is made and developed by Microsoft, not Facebook. Just look in the store
  • It's still official.
  • At least they still used LL Circular.
  • عيد مبارك وكل عام وانتم بخير
  • Windows phone's facebook app is still shitty...so far from the droids/apple app...
  • I see no problem with it but then again I don't really use the facebook app just messenger
  • Well, facebook made those and not ours...so there's that and maybe there's only so much facebook lets them do =\
  • Fuck facebook.
  • My GF was cheating via Facebook
  • 1st please make a basic fully functional facebook app for windows platform then talk about free basics. Coward actually also blocked me from facebook page when i wrote the same on page's wall.. #suckerburg