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Zuckerberg mocked, doubted, and praised for Internet.org plan

Colin Neagle | Aug. 22, 2013
Tech media reacts to Zuckerberg's ambitious new plan.

Lawler, however, didn't seem entirely confident in the plan, closing his article by saying "we'll be expecting our more efficient social network any day now."

The Guardian expressed concern over the privacy issues that could stem from an internet provider whose business relies on collecting users' personal information and social interactions.

"That approach is unlikely to find favor in countries where people are concerned about their internet use being monitored, given Facebook's emphasis on real-world identities," The Guardian's Stuart Dredge wrote.

TechCrunch's Josh Constine was one of the few who commended Internet.org's ambitions. Acknowledging that it is in the companies' business interests to open avenues into new markets, Constine says "whether or not you believe it, Facebook is truly trying to achieve its mission of connecting the world."

He also echoed the economic benefits that Zuckerberg played up in his announcement, which cited a McKinsey study estimating that the Internet creates an average of 2.6 jobs for ever one that it makes obsolete.

"If the plan works, mobile operators will gain more customers and invest more in accessibility; phone makers will see people wanting better devices; Internet providers will get to connect more people; and people will receive affordable Internet so they can join the knowledge economy and connect with the people they care about," Constine wrote.

Constine says the financial benefits of the plan are not necessarily a bad thing, as they will ensure the initiative remains sustainable.If that sounds like a Facebook statement, it's because it's not far from it. 

Zuckerberg said basically the same thing in a recent interview with The New York Times. "The Internet is such an important thing for driving humanity forward, but it's not going to build itself," he said. "Ultimately, this has to make business sense on some time frame that people can get behind."

However, the Facebook founder also claimed in that same interview that the immediate profits from the initiative will be minimal, and the motivations for Internet.org were mostly altruistic from the start.

"We're focused on it more because we think it's something good for the world, rather than something that is going to be really amazing for our profits," Zuckerberg told the Times.

 

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