All sorts of people are denouncing Internet.org, but it looks OK to me. Maybe I’m wrong. If someone convinces me that I am, then I’ll update this post with an explanation of why it’s a bad thing, and of course link to the evidence.
What it is · Near as I can tell, it’s a service, funded by Facebook, where less-well-off people in less-developed parts of the world can get bits of the Internet for free, notably including Facebook and Wikipedia. (But I do have to say that it’s damn hard to find a listing of what beyond that is actually on Internet.org.)
Lots of people, including sane-sounding Net-neutrality advocates, are upset; this story at the BBC seems to cover their talking points reasonably well.
Why it doesn’t bother me · People, who otherwise wouldn’t, get Wikipedia for free. That seems like a wonderful thing!
And yeah, they also get Facebook whether they want it or need it or not. I’ll be honest; I don’t much care for Facebook. But is it so pernicious as to counterbalance the benefits of opening up Wikipedia to huge numbers of the impoverished? I’m really having trouble with that equation.
The people who use Internet.org may be poor but that doesn’t mean they’re stupid; they’ll understand perfectly well that they’re only getting a stripped-down Facebook-centric version of the real thing.
There is a legit gripe: Internet.org doesn’t support HTTPS, privacy by default. But they acknowledge that and they say they’re working on it. (You may have to search forward in that awful Facebook page; look for “lame”.)
Like TV · How is this different from classic over-the-air television? You don’t pay for it but every hour has 15 minutes of ads. Is it non-neutral that there are ads from some companies but not others? And that there are no specialty niche cable channels? Well yeah, but it’s still a pretty good bargain for lots of people.
What am I missing? · Seriously: Convince me that I’m wrong and this space, which has pretty good Google-juice, will be occupied by an anti-Internet.org phillipic.