Following Flipkart example, Cleartrip.com, a travel website has exited from Facebook’s Internet.org saying on second thought it found the non-mentization membership still violated the principle of Net Neutrality.
For instance, Internet.org allows only Microsoft’s Bing.com and no other search engines, thus clearly violating the principle of Net Neutrality. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defends it saying it can co-exist with net neutrality without explaining the raison de’etre behind Bing-Only search engine option under this initiative.
Facebook’s Internet.org is an initiative to bring internet services to remote areas in India with Reliance Communication providing free internet to the subscribers. But it has an eventual drag to pull users into the market place online and become potential future consumers.
Already, Airtel Zero with similar weightage to special paid customers was offering special privileges violating the net neutrality, forced Flipkart to withdraw from it, despite its CEO openly supporting it initially.
India’s telecom regulator TRAI has, meanwhile, uploaded a consultation paper seeking citizens’ views on net neutrality before April 23.
Here’s what Cleartrip said on its blog:
“A few weeks back, Facebook reached out and asked us to participate in the Internet.org initiative with the intention of helping us deliver one of our most affordable products to the more underserved parts of the country. There was no revenue arrangement between us and Internet.org or any of its participants — we were neither paid anything, nor did we pay anything to participate. Additionally we don’t make any money out of that product. Since there was absolutely zero money changing hands, we genuinely believed we were contributing to a social cause.
But the recent debate around #NetNeutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach to Internet.org and the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast. What started off with providing a simple search service has us now concerned with influencing customer decision-making by forcing options on them, something that is against our core DNA.
So while our original intent was noble, it is impossible to pretend there is no conflict of interest (both real and perceived) in our decision to be a participant in Internet.org. In light of this, Cleartrip has withdrawn our association with and participation in Internet.org entirely.
We believe that the Internet is a great leveller and that freedom of the Internet is critical for innovation. Cleartrip is and always will be a fully committed supporter of #NetNeutrality.”