A very intelligent marketing campaign, and a very well planned plot, this was Facebook’s ‘Free Basics’.
One would argue, “Why refuse to have something that we are getting for free?” and that is the mentality which is the target. Facebook plans to provide some selected services for free to users, among which are obviously Facebook and its services. But at what cost?
If free basics somehow makes its way into India, it claims to benefit the masses, but it is acting more like an evil version of robin hood here. All other services that compete directly with facebook may be charged even more. And this may lead to destroying of scope for the smaller competitors, who currently have an equal platform for competition.
Imagine having free access to facebook (which is rarely used for knowledge) but you have to pay for something like Wikipedia. Also, I am doubtful about the free access to facebook too, telecom operators may introduce new plans, which include this ‘free’ access as benefits to highly overpriced plans. Want to use google? Extra money. Amazon? More money. And this will definitely add to the frustration of the many mobile users already confused due to differences in plans.
And what about the small competitors, the startups struggling to make it big on the internet? They do not have the money to make contracts with demanding telecom operators, and thus the market will become 10 times more harsh for them. For what? For a billion dollar company that wants to expand its customer base.
Wondering why Facebook is pushing free basics so much? Well I can tell u this, it is not doing this for charity. After the launch of Digital India initiative and the exponentially growing number of mobile users, Facebook sees lots of potential in this country. More facebook users = more ads = more money for facebook. And this ad money can easily cover up the cost of initial setup, so there is huge profit and a chance of market dominance for facebook.
Now that you’ve read the basics of free basics, make sure you don’t click on the spammy notifications asking you to save the internet. Free basics in all its forms is a threat to net neutrality and should be ignored, just like the candy crush saga requests.
And when you see any friend ‘voice their opinion’ about free basics, here’s what you post on their wall: