Facebook’s duplicitous Internet.org initiative continues to gather opposition as over 60 rights groups from several nations across the globe, including the U.S., the Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Austria, India and others, criticized Facebook, saying that the initiative undermines net neutrality. The rights groups assert that the low-cost internet-to-the-masses plan is self serving, giving Facebook effective control of the internet is developing countries.

With the control the powerful social network can favor its own sites and content while excluding competitors. It also conditions new internet users to expect Facebook’s watered down version of the net rather than the real thing.

In an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg , the organizations, many of whom have extensive experience in providing connectivity to the poor, claimed that the initiative had been wrongly marketed as providing access to the real, full, Internet, even though it provided access to only a limited number of services that are approved by Facebook and local Internet service providers.

Through Internet.org, Facebook and local telecom monopolies aim to extend internet connectivity to poor areas of the world currently without internet. The program, which was roundly criticized in India for creating “walled gardens,” offers only a hand chosen set of websites and services, including those of Facebook, at no data charges to users.

The service has already been launched in select countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

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