We’ll forgive you if you haven’t heard of Marc Andreessen. He’s a fabulously wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor who has invested in startups like Foursquare, Twitter and GitHub that became huge companies.
More importantly, Andreessen is an investor in and on the board of Facebook, which just had its net neutrality-violating Free Basics program banned by TRAI, India’s telecom regulator.
On Wednesday morning, this is what Andreessen decided to weigh in on the Free Basics debate and tweeted this:
Andreessen’s tweet may have been sarcastic, but he eventually deleted it and went on the defensive.
And for the record, I am opposed to colonialism, in any country. https://t.co/3ommgZssMm— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016
Colonialism in India is a prickly topic. The country was under British rule for more than 200 years and has a history of subjugation, so Andreessen’s tweet managed to rub many people -- including self-professed fans -- the wrong way .
@prasanto I can't believe this. I hope this is not what they discuss in Facebook board meetings--which have no Indians on it— Vivek Wadhwa (@wadhwa) February 10, 2016
Hey @pmarca: Your $45mn Free Basics campaign didn’t work…so how about spending another $45mn actually giving free internet to India’s poor?— Prasanto K Roy (@prasanto) February 10, 2016
Andreessen eventually backed down.
Off to bed. Good night, India! 😀— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016
But hey, it’s the internet. Everything lives forever.