Facebook’s controversial initiative, Free Basics (formerly known as Internet.org), is now available anywhere across the country to Reliance customers. The service, which provides users free access to health, education, job and communication services through an app, was available only in six states -- Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Telangana -- so far.
With over 130 million of its 1.4 billion users coming from India, the country is one of Facebook’s most important markets. With over 1 billion users in India still unconnected to the internet, Facebook sees Free Basics as an opportunity to bring them online for free.
Free Basics, however, has been criticised by internet activists, who claim that by offering only certain services and websites for free, Facebook is splitting the internet into paid and free tiers.