Facebook introduced a new service two years ago, called Internet.Org aimed at enabling limited internet access to four billion people across a lot of countries, who don't have the privilege yet, especially emerging economies like Asia. But the program was limited to a number of services like Facebook, and a slew of other local apps, which could help the user. This drew a lot of negative criticism, sparking off a debate about net neutrality, and privacy. This controversial service received a major facelift today, with a change of name to putting it in a more comfortable position amidst all the criticism.
According to Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg and as mentioned in the blog of Internet.Org, three significant changes took place to the service, in compliance with increasing demands and feedback, and keeping the public welfare initiative in mind. The first would be opening the platform up to the developers. This was initially done after the service received a lot of negative criticism about dictating what content was available to the service, but there were a lot of restrictions on them. As of today, a lot of these restrictions are not in place, and developers have more freedom in developing and publishing their apps to the service. This also gives people the power to choose what they want as a lot of new services are being added.
Second, and a significant change, Facebook was going to improve the security and encryption of the controversial billion dollar program, with HTTPS web service implementation. Support for HTTPS was in place in the app since several months. The service was already encrypting available data, but new encryption methods are being promoted in the web view mode as well. The third significant change is the change of name of the app from Internet.Org to Free Basics. This will reflect in the Play Store name tag, and the mobile web version can be accessed at Freebasics.com, also processing redirects from the previous site. A few months ago, Facebook announced that the program was available to a billion users, and plans about using a massive drone named Aquila to beam the internet to developing countries are already in talks. As of now, Free Basics app offers more than 60 services in over 19 countries and has partnered with global technology giants like Samsung, Ericcson, and Qualcomm to ensure a better service.