Mark Zuckerberg has found himself in the middle of a strange situation. On the heels of the net neutrality decision the Facebook founder made some interesting remarks regarding his Internet.org project, as well as the aforementioned net neutrality ruling. Perhaps less interestingly, he voiced his support for net neutrality. Given the fact that Zuckerberg and Facebook run a massive Internet project called Internet.org it came off a little hypocritical, according to some. Internet.org is seen partially as a contradiction to net neutrality itself because it provides a way for Internet to be brought to those areas around the world where people can’t pay for it. Yet, at the same time Facebook will be charging more for a better quality Internet for those who can pay for it.
The contradiction is one that many were hoping would spur Zuckerberg to take a stance against net neutrality. Specifically, he said, “To give more people access to the internet, it is useful to offer some service for free. If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all.” The logic is sound, but at the end of the day – we’re talking about something that is a problem. Moreover, it’s something that’ll be a challenge for Facebook and Zuckerberg to keep clear as things progress with net neutrality. Eventually they will be called out for their flip-flopping nature.
The questions though regarding why Zuckerberg would defend seem pretty clear. He’s protecting his investment, as Internet.org has become something that Facebook is investing heavily in, and really is viewed as one of the few “good for everyone” kinds of things that the company does. While oftentimes people are focused on the ads, or the information and data that the company is collecting, they are bringing the Internet to places that it hasn’t been before. That’s more than what they feel like was being done before, so offering basic Internet, even if it isn’t as good – for essential services at least – to improve quality of life for the individuals who live in these areas.
This fear though might have more to do with the fact that Zuckerberg could be showing some early concerns regarding the overall feeling of Facebook. It’s something that has become so big, and so massive, that the market is becoming somewhat saturated within what innovative things Facebook could do. So, this defense, with that in mind is somewhat expected.