Facebook’s Internet.org Rebranded as ‘Free Basics’

The company also announced encrypted Web services and more developer opportunities.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.pcmag.com

The organization, which is working to provide Internet access to far-flung corners of the globe, is changing the name of its apps to Free Basics.   “We want to make it clear that the apps you can use through Internet.org are free, basic services that can give you access to essential resources like BabyCenter,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post, referring to a community for advice and support on pregnancy and parenting.   Internet.org’s rebranding, however, will not change its accessibility. Current Android app users can continue without interruption; the mobile Web version, meanwhile, will redirect from the previous URL to FreeBasics.com.  The Internet.org program itself, meanwhile, is also now open to all developers who want to add their apps and services to the program, a move likely intended to assuage those who had net neutrality concerns.   Facebook first announced plans for the Internet.org Platform in May, and “over the past few months, developers have adapted their services specifically for the Internet.org Platform requirements,” the organization said. It officially went live today with more than 60 new services available across the 19 countries, like free health, education, and economic information.  Internet.org is also getting a security upgrade. “We already encrypt information everywhere possible, and starting today Internet.org also supports secure HTTPS web services as well,”  Even apps and sites that only run over HTTP will be encrypted between servers and any device supporting HTTPS.   Internet.org provides those in developing countries with free access to basic Internet services on affordable smartphones. Facebook teamed up with local providers to give users access to things like Wikipedia, some job listing sites, select weather, sports, and news outlets, and, naturally, Facebook and Facebook Messenger.   In India, however, companies complained that Facebook was favoring its partners in violation of net neutrality. Rather than providing people with access to the entire Web, where they could pick and choose the services they used, Facebook was providing prioritized access to specific sites and apps that would likely benefit from an influx of new users to whom their rivals did not have access.   Zuckerberg insisted he was just trying to get people connected, but ultimately announced that Facebook would open Internet.org to anyone who could build an app that didn’t eat up too much bandwidth.

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