Internet.org: Myths and Facts

MYTH: Internet.org doesn’t help people connect to the internet.

FACT: Internet.org brings new people onto mobile networks on average over 50% faster after launching free basic services. This means that if 1,000 people who were brand new to the internet were signing up per month for mobile data services before launching Internet.org, 1,500 people sign up per month after launching Internet.org. Through our connectivity efforts we’ve brought more than 9 million people online that otherwise would not be and introduced them to the incredible value of the internet. People now have access to basic internet services including tools and resources for communication, health, education and local news.

MYTH: Internet.org creates a two-tiered Internet.

FACT: Internet.org doesn’t create a two-tiered internet. It gives people an onramp to the internet, and after using free basic services, they understand the value of the internet and then access the internet outside of Internet.org. 50% of people who join Internet.org are paying for data – and therefore have decided to access the internet outside of free basic services – within 30 days of coming online for the first time. Not having programs like Internet.org leaves more people offline and unable to realize the benefits of the internet.

MYTH: Internet.org is an exclusive program available to only one operator per country.

FACT: Internet.org is non-exclusive and is open to any operator who wants to participate. In Malawi and the Philippines, Internet.org launched with multiple operators.

MYTH: Facebook pays operators to zero rate the services within Internet.org.

FACT: Facebook does not pay operators for the data that people consume. It partners with operators on the technical side and provides marketing support to help make people aware of the program. If successful, people using the internet for the first time will begin to experience its benefits and over time will start exploring and paying to use the broader internet.

MYTH: Facebook wants to keep people within a “walled garden” of free content.

FACT: Internet.org is successful only if the newly connected reach the broader internet. Operators can’t afford to invest in improving their infrastructure if new users never pay for data. Facebook launched the Internet.org Platform, which helps more developers to include their services in Internet.org and gives people greater choice over the services that they want to use. We also emphasize the importance of exploring the entire internet in our developer terms for the Internet.org Platform.

MYTH: Internet.org is a threat to local innovation.

FACT: There is no greater threat to local innovation than leaving people offline. Internet.org increases the potential audience for websites and services and helps bring more people online faster, using the entire internet. Facebook offers a broad package of tools for companies to help launch their service – both in and out of Internet.org, and holds developer events globally to connect with and help developers launch their online services.

MYTH: Many people think that Facebook is the entire internet, and Facebook is trying to use Internet.org to reinforce that impression.

FACT: Internet.org introduces people to the value of the internet through more than 100 free basic services globally. Giving people a list that features a broader set of services is important for helping people experience the value of other online services, like women’s health information and education services. Also a key guideline for developer participation in Internet.org is to encourage the exploration of the entire internet.

MYTH: Facebook has launched Internet.org to help drive its own growth and revenue opportunities within developing countries.

FACT: There are no ads within the Facebook experience on Internet.org. If revenue were the goal, Facebook would have focused resources on markets where online advertising is already thriving.

MYTH: Facebook is picking winners by independently selecting the services included in Internet.org.

FACT: Today, Internet.org offers more than 100 free basic services globally. Facebook recently announced the Internet.org Platform, which gives more developers an opportunity to include their services in Internet.org and gives people choice over the services that they want to use. A key guideline for developer participation is to encourage the exploration of the entire internet.

MYTH: Internet.org violates the principles of net neutrality.

FACT: Facebook supports net neutrality and has worked throughout the world to ensure that services can’t be blocked or throttled and to ensure that fast lanes are prohibited. Net Neutrality seeks to ensure that network operators don’t limit access to services people want to use, and Internet.org’s goal is to provide more people with access. It is good for consumer choice and consumer value. Net neutrality and Internet.org can and must co-exist.

MYTH: Internet.org does not provide adequate protections for new internet users, some of whom may not understand how their data will be used, or may not be able to properly give consent for certain practices.

FACT: Internet.org’s practices are clear, and Facebook and Internet.org take user privacy and security extremely seriously. Internet.org doesn’t share user-level navigation information with any of its partners, and there is no requirement for developers participating in the Internet.org Platform to send Internet.org any information that personally identifies people. Internet.org does receive some data on navigation information because it needs to determine what traffic can be delivered free of data charges. This information is used, for example, to understand what services are popular, which helps it determine what types of services to launch in other countries. Internet.orgdoes not store this information with information that personally identifies you beyond 90 days.

MYTH: Isn’t Facebook in this just to make money?

FACT: No company pays Facebook to be included in Internet.org. Facebook does not even show ads in Internet.org. If our partners run ads within their services, then people may see those ads just like the rest of the internet.

MYTH: Internet.org undermines user security and fails to implement HTTPS encryption. Internet.org will reject any site that uses SSL/TLS encryption, which makes user traffic vulnerable to malicious attacks and government eavesdropping.

FACT: Our goal is to provide a secure service on every supported platform and for everyone using Internet.org. To that end, we have rolled out HTTPS support for the Internet.org app and we are also investigating how we could provide similar security for web-based access to Internet.org.

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