In a shrewd move, Facebook has launched a massive ‘Save Free Basics’ campaign on Facebook, wherein unsuspecting users are prompted with a pre-written message, which would be sent to TRAI as part of their new consultation paper regarding Net Neutrality.
The pre-written message which Facebook users are gullibly sending to TRAI is:
“To the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, I support digital equality for India. Free Basics provides free access to essential internet services like communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and more. It helps those who can’t afford to pay for data, or who need a little help getting started online. And it’s open to all people, developers and mobile operators. With 1 billion Indian people not yet connected, shutting down Free Basics would hurt our country’s most vulnerable people. I support Free Basics – and digital equality for India. Thank you.”
Read the last line: “I support Free Basics – and digital equality for India.”
This is entirely false and misleading as Free Basics by Facebook is killing digital equality in India, and destroying Net Neutrality as we know.
The whole structure of this campaign is so flawless, that once a user sends this email, all his friends on Facebook would receive a notification, and then growth will happen like a virus.
TRAI will receive thousands and millions of such pre-written messages, and Free Basics would be approved in India. This campaign is a disastrous, shrewd and grossly unethical move by Facebook.
Here is the screenshot of what Facebook is showing the users.
TRAI and Telecom Ministry Is At Fault Here
I would say here that Facebook is not at fault this time; it’s our very own TRAI and Telecom Ministry which wants Facebook to win. And this is a very serious situation for Net Neutrality in India.
When a consultation paper was already published and responses received in the month of May, 2015, was there any need to again publish a consultation paper, and allow Facebook to win?
Does TRAI expect any different answers this time?
It seems like TRAI wants people to support Free Basics – they will keep on publishing such consultation papers until majority of people say yes to Free Basics!
Why no action was taken on the previous consultation paper? Why did TRAI allow Facebook to devise such shrewd, manipulated campaign to garner support for their evil Free Basics plan?
Don’t fall for this trap by Facebook by supporting Free Basics.
Here is the direct link to TRAI’s consultation paper on Net Neutrality. Contact them directly, and save Net Neutrality in India:
“Stakeholders are requested to furnish their written comments by 30th December, 2015 and counter-comments by 7th January, 2016 to Ms. Vinod Kotwal, Advisor (F&EA), TRAI. The comments may also be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments and counter-comments would be posted
on TRAI’s website www.trai.gov.in. For any clarification/information, Advisor (F&EA) may be contacted at Tel. No. : +91-11-23230752, Fax: +91-11- 23236650”
What to do if you see the Message
If you see the message on Facebook asking you to support “Free Basics” – Simply open this word document, copy the Subject line and body of text given in this Google doc. (Shared by @nixxinn)
So if you're seeing a Facebook message asking for support for free basics, please replace their text with this https://t.co/mcOna2vv6F
— Nikhil Pahwa (@nixxin) December 17, 2015