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Facebook’s INTERNET.ORG in Pakistan

The disparity in internet connectivity can impose unfair disadvantage upon the sections of the society that are not as privileged as the affluent classes. Provision of equitable facilities to the deprived masses has been a priority for businesses as well as governments.

Facebook launched the internet.org initiative in 2013 with the aim of providing free limited-internet access to the developing countries (Curtis, 2015). With the help of a smartphone and the partnering network operator’s connection, the masses will have access to popular websites like Facebook, Google search etc. With more than 10 countries already on-board with the internet.org initiative, Pakistan has very recently been the newest country to be granted this service. Available to Telenor customers exclusively for the launch, the internet.org app enables free access to internet-bound websites. The implications for such a facility in Pakistan are boundless, empowering the unconnected masses to make use of the internet to communicate freely, establish efficient business communication patterns etc. the integration of technology and digital communication can help them revolutionize their small-scale business and provide them with global connectivity for free.

The catch for Facebook is perhaps the much debated net neutrality, or lack of it (Russell, 2015). This service provides enormous advantages to the exclusive service provider as well as the Facebook Corp. in terms of greater market capturing. It conveniently provides partial access to internet that is aimed at fulfilling its vested interest. However, viewing the glass half full perspective, something is definitely better than something. Internet.org has been launched in Pakistan on 28th May 2015 giving the 85% of the unconnected Pakistani population the opportunity to avail free internet access through the Telenor network. Only the future will reveal its implications and faring in the country.

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