Facebook for Free Basics the (dis)ingeneous (feel) good campaign
So yesterday’s Deccan Herald B’luru edition had an Ad – Two full pages. See the attached image. I am christening it the Facebook for Free Basics or the #FB4FB campaign.
So FB sees enough coming about from FB that they are not just using their own platform to sell FB. Well, if the ISPs and TSPs are going to make money, why leave out famous English dailies in leading newspaper markets of the country! Spread the wealth? Trickle down economics? Psst: If you don’t write anything bad about FB in your editorial pages or news reports, there will be more goodies for you !!
Anyway, let me do a point by point re-interpretation of the 10 claims in the Ad:
#FB4FB : Free Basics is open to any carrier. Any mobile operator can join us in connecting India.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : Free Basics is open to any carrier. Any mobile operator can join us in connecting India … to the websites that have conform to _our_ standards i.e. _our_ preferences and _our_ limitations.
#FB4FB : We do not charge anything for Free Basics. Period.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : We do not charge anything for Free Basics. Period. … But we will only let you see the content that our ‘friends’ offer.
#FB4FB : We do not pay for the data consumed in Free Basics. Operators participate because the program has proven to bring more people online. Free Basics has brought new people on to mobile networks on average over 50% faster since launching the service.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : We do not pay for the data consumed in Free Basics. Operators participate because the program has had the cash registers ringing ! see -6- below.
#FB4FB : Any developer or publisher can have their content on Free Basics. There are technical specs openly published here: some url. and we have never rejected an app or publisher who has met these technical specs
#WhatFBreallyMeans : Any one who meets our technical specs (and our service agreement) is in. Otherwise you are out.
#FB4FB : Nearly 800 developers have signed their support for Free Basics.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : We have managed to find 800 developers out of the few lakh content generators that are out there on the internet. And oh ! these ‘nearly 800’ have only signed their support, we are not sure if their content is on FB yet.
#FB4FB : It is not a walled garden: In India, 40% of people who have come online through FB are paying for data and accessing the full internet within the first 30 days. In the same time period, 8 times more people are paying than staying on just the free services.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : It is a great deal for the telecom service prodviders ! We have a saying in FB, data wins arguments. Look at the numbers. Look how much more money you can make, if you are a TSP/ISP.
#FB4FB : Free Basics is growing and popular in 36 other countries, which have welcomed the program with open arms and seen the enormous benefits it has brought.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : Gimme a break ok, there are 36 other countries who have accepted what we are offering without questioning us. Why do you ask so many questions? Let us just save the poor souls by getting them to access the FB world !!
#FB4FB : In a recent representative poll, 86% of Indians supported Free Basics by Facebook, and the idea that everyone deserves access to free basic internet services
#WhatFBreallyMeans : Internet.org was too distinct, it stood out by itself. So we had a crack team work on it and we changed the name to FB. After all when we are trying to sell a platform, it has to (a) appear ubiquitous (Free Basics internet service is nothing but free basic internet service) and (b) have the same acronym as our primary product ! 🙂
#FB4FB : In the past several days 3.2 million people have petitioned the TRAI in support of Free Basics.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : We set up a ‘send a petition’ page on FB that gave people a single big blue button to click reading ‘send email’. No cancel, no small or big ‘x’ to close the pop up screen anywhere. Simplicity, no choices. he! he! he! he! gotcha !!
#FB4FB : There are no ads in the version of Facebook on Free Basics. Facebook produces no revenue. We are doing this to connect India and the benefits to do so are clear.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : FB does not make money on FB. But our partners do. see -6- above. And FB is saving the world, it is connecting India to the FB world! what more can you ask of us!!