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India: Facebook criticized in over free limited internet

 |  January 21, 2016

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has made public a strongly worded letter addressed to Facebook countering allegations levied by the social media giant and criticising the manner in which the company made millions of its users send emails to TRAI in support of the controversial Free Basics service.

The letter addressed to Ankhi Das, Facebook’s director-public policy for India, South & Central Asia, TRAI reiterates its previous stance that the responses sent in by Facebook on behalf its users were not, in fact, responses to the four questions posed by the regulatory authority in its consultation paper on ‘Differential Prices for Data Services’ but merely templatised response expressing support of Free Basics.

On Facebook’s act of levering its huge user base to drum up support for Free Basics, TRAI says that Facebook’s “urging has the flavour of reducing this meaningful consultative exercise designed to produce informed decisions in a transparent manner into a crudely majoritarian and orchestrated opinion poll.”

TRAI, in the letter, expresses apprehensions that Facebook acts, if accepted, “has dangerous ramifications for policy-making in India.”

Full content: The Wall Street Journal

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