Facebook finally launched its free but limited internet facility “internet.org” in Pakistan in, making it the 11th country to have this service.
In a Facebook post on Thursday Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that “Internet.org is now live in Pakistan for people on the Telenor Pakistan network.”
“Now, people will be able to access valuable services for free, including resources for health, jobs, local news and communication.”
He also claimed that nearly 1 billion people around the world will be able to access basic internet facility through this internet programme.
Internet.org is a global initiative by Facebook where selected websites are made available to users for free. It has been developed with the basic aim at developing markets where devices and data rates are beyond the reach of commoners.
The social media giant, after partnering with different telecom companies and content providers, would make certain selected websites available free of cost to their consumers.
The internet.org programme, however, has been criticised by the internet activists for its partiality and violation of net neutrality as only certain sites, including Facebook, while charging for rest of the sites. They also claim that the programme is either intentionally or unintentionally “killing the rest of internet” as only selected content on the internet will be promoted, which can be dangerous in the long run since not everyone can become part of the program.
Though any publisher can apply to become part of internet.org program, but not everyone’s application is accepted as they have to follow certain rules/guidelines which might even mean compromising on the quality of their content.
According to a market research by GfK, there are over 30 million Internet users and 15 million smartphone users in Pakistan. The recent statistics showed a staggering growth in Internet use of over 550 per cent between September 2014 and April of this year, with the total number of 3G subscribers crossing 11 million. The research also predicted the Pakistan’s tech device market to grow by 15 per cent in 2015.