back to article Zuck can EFF off: Internet.org is SO NOT the INTERNET

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has joined criticism of Facebook's Internet.org project, saying it runs "a real risk" of turning the few websites that Zuck & Co. select, "including, of course, Facebook itself", into a "ghetto" for poor internet users – instead of being a stepping stone to the full WWW. The EFF is quick to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    So in summary...

    ..it's WAP? Remember that kids?

    Also anyone find it ironic that internet.org itself is so image heavy?

    1. Old Handle
      FAIL

      Re: So in summary...

      And it seems to rely heavily on JavaScript too.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: So in summary...

      WAP = What a pain

  2. Busby

    I still struggle to see what facebook get out of this, can't imagine the worlds poorest appeal to many advertisers and as the percentage of FB users that fall into that group increases wont advertisers lose interest?

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Yep, this is why you never see adverts for Coca-Cola and Marlboro in poor countries. Oh wait...

    2. CaptainHook

      I see the value coming from 2 directions

      1) Today's poorest are tomorrows outsourcing locations

      A bit of investment now gains you a huge market share for those groups most likely to have big percentage increases in income in the future. A group who will be very easy to profile by the gatekeepers because all the traffic is in plain text.

      2) Chance to become de facto communications provider

      A bit of investment now means you already have a network in place ready for expansion as a poor country starts to increase it's communications requirements as it takes on outsourcing work for the 1st world, why use a local company when Internet.org already has a fledgling comms network in place and serving people in exactly the sort of locations outsourcers are likely to want a comms network.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: I see the value coming from 2 directions

        I say that's a rather cynical take on it... But, your also forgetting the small matter of these places general stability. e.g. They haven't got any political stability at all...

    3. David Pollard

      Pennies from poor people

      I can't remember who coined the phrase, a decade or three ago, but it's rather apt: It's easier to make money taking pennies from poor people than pounds from the rich.

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge

      I still struggle to see what facebook get out of this, can't imagine the worlds poorest appeal to many advertisers and as the percentage of FB users that fall into that group increases wont advertisers lose interest?

      >Implying that anyone outside of the Marketing Ddept. cares about Ad's...

    5. Vector

      Beware of geeks bearing gifts.

      "I still struggle to see what facebook get out of this..."

      It's very much akin to Apple's early strategy of lowball targeting to the educational market. Basically: "If they learn about it through our stuff, they'll want to use more of our stuff because it's familiar."

      In Apple's case, it was hardware. In Farcebook's case, it's services.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this not just a case of doing what they would do to the rest of the internet if they could go back in time? or is this what they are testing to eventually do to everyone anyway?

    Put everyone on a business/government sponsored proxy for full control of the internets and data by forcing all isp's to route through them then ban all vpn traffic to external networks.(won't somebody think of the children and terrorists, obviously not together). I'm guessing the app that connects to internet.borg™ has many permissions to slurp the rest of the users data as well.

    1. PleebSmash
      Paris Hilton

      Facebook integration

      Where is the mandatory Facebook login for El Reg? Can we get rid of these "Anonymous Coward" posts please?

      1. unitron

        Re: Facebook integration

        Bite your tongue!

        The Facebook comment handling software is horrible.

  4. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Devil

    What might be a good idea...

    ...is something which takes anything from anywhere, strips the bloat and excess and delivers that to bandwidth-limited customers for free - A proxy which turns any web content into a mobile-tailored site.

    Done altruistically, transparently, without trying to profit or create lock-in or monopoly through that, I can't see too much of a problem. I'd probably not even complain if the service carried discreet "sponsored by" ads; that's the price of 'free' and the option to nothing.

    That's not however what facebook seem to be angling for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What might be a good idea...

      And given that a good chunk of Internet bloat these days is part and parcel with the site itself, trying to strip out the bloat ends up stripping out the site itself. And without a profit motive, how will this be paid for? Ads are out due to bandwidth (third-world internet is slow enough that an image can be a pain) and a lack of potential customers (if they had money, they'd roll their own Internet pipelines).

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: What might be a good idea...

        And given that a good chunk of Internet bloat these days is part and parcel with the site itself, trying to strip out the bloat ends up stripping out the site itself.

        If businesses and content providers can't tailor sites to suit their audience that's their problem.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What might be a good idea...

          "If businesses and content providers can't tailor sites to suit their audience that's their problem."

          Thing is, the Third World usually isn't their audience. It's the First World, and First-Worlders are jaded; they've seen it all, so you need to present something that attracts their attention. If they really wanted to attract the Third World, they can just create a subdomain for them with a lower HTML compliance, much as there are mobile subdomains better suited for smartphones.

    2. Anomalous Cowturd
      Happy

      Re: What might be a good idea...

      Opera Mini?

      Still available (I think) as a Java App for feature phones, and on Android and PC (Opera Turbo).

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: What might be a good idea...

        But do you trust Opera with your data? It would be better to roll your own, but that's not an exercise for the average Joe.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What might be a good idea...

      "something which takes anything from anywhere, strips the bloat and excess and delivers that to bandwidth-limited customers for free - A proxy which turns any web content into a mobile-tailored site"

      Opera Mini? (still no end-to-end security though)

  5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You'd be surprised. For many parts of the world, Facebook IS the Internet. I've seen mobile phone plans that specifically give Facebook allocations instead of data allocations.

      1. Zmodem

        facebook is hated on every music forum and site that is todo with all street and ghetto music and dj`s and clubs

        if you can reach internet org or facebook, you can access the whole internet unless you in china

        1. Captain DaFt

          "facebook is hated on every music forum`s that is todo with all street and ghetto music and dj`s and clubs"

          Yeah, it's popular to hate it because everybody uses it.

          Like the way everybody disses TV, but you'll rarely find a home without one.

          1. Zmodem

            nobody uses facebook except people who listen to drum & bass, read mix mag and use ableton to make tunes in

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From My Experience In Poor Countries...

    ...that would be Central Africa values of "poor", which I hope we can all agree qualifies.

    What I've seen is that Internet access as such is not a problem.¹ You just stroll down² to the local internet café (remember those?), get connected, and you can spend hours browsing YouTube and posting updates on Farcebook and doing all the time wasting stuff that people do on the internet. The connection will not be the fastest³, and there will be a noticeable latency as it will almost certainly be a VSAT link, but for the rest it's not that different from what we had maybe 10 years ago.

    Except the local web.

    And that's where the problem lies: it's easy to consume global content from even the poorest place in the world. But that doesn't help much. What would help is having the infrastructure so as to improve local online communications, so that local communities could interact online more, in ways that are adapted to the their socio-cultural context.

    ¹ For local values of "not a problem", which intersect a large part of the set of values known to us as "catastrophe".

    ² Might be a few hours' stroll, but down there nobody is ever in a rush.

    ³ See (²).

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    'Facebook ghetto for poor people'

    Just what they need. Exactly what someone else thinks they need...

  8. edge_e
    Unhappy

    It's not a ghetto for poor internet users

    It's a blueprint for what they want the internet to become

    Facebook, shopping and adverts.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your gateway to the internet

    It's AOL all over again, only now it's run by Facebook. And want to bet where the home page will point? Maybe they can hand out some nice shiny CDs too.

  10. Michael Habel Silver badge

    What do you sell to someone who has nothing with as likely as not absolutely NO INFRASTRUCTURE in place to get said things shipped to? A place where things like Electricity, and indoor plumbing. Are almost at mythic proportions? A take out Pizza?!

    1. Captain DaFt

      "What do you sell to someone who has nothing with as likely as not absolutely NO INFRASTRUCTURE in place to get said things shipped to? A place where things like Electricity, and indoor plumbing. Are almost at mythic proportions?"

      Ahem, I believe Sears & Roebuck sold literally everything under those conditions in early 20th century USA.

      They built America's first retail empire.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        and whose catalogs were a ready supply of toilet paper. The alternative? My mom can tell where the phrase "rough as a cob" came from. Having been hither and yon, tp is not unappreciated.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    I don't get it

    I started off in the mid nineties as a web developer, so I don't really get the point of internet.org. I may be phenomenally naive but we designed for slow connections from the outset (because that's all there were). We also designed code to last.

    If anyone wanted to take a big step forward, an RFC dictating network capability or analysis and a website designed for high and low bandwidths would be the answer rather than boxing people into a proprietary system. It's either that or smack designers round the head with a set of sensible old school low bandwidth or disabled text accessibility guideline.

    In fact any fool could code a php page to present a transparent png to a browser, measure the request/ delivery time and subsequently shift low bandwidth users to an alternate view of a site (be better if server based and setting an environment variable though). Now that's published there goes prior art, so it's open source, yeah.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EFF = Extremely Foolish Fraudsters

    They don't represent the public, they represent their own interests.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: EFF = Extremely Foolish Fraudsters

      AC is 100% right, EFF are only representing their interests, which are free and open access to information.

      The bastards.

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