Facebook’s Internet.org initiative is dedicated to bringing the web to the two-thirds of the world not yet connected to it. However, many parts of the world may not want it at all.
A coalition of community groups wrote an open letter to the site this week criticizing Internet.org for many issues, including potential censorship, privacy and security issues.
First among their critiques: the name of the service itself. It isn’t exactly the Internet that Facebook is delivering, but the site and it’s partner’s version of the Internet. That means people in developing countries may only see what Facebook wants them to see, effectively putting tons of censorship power in the site’s hands. It also doesn’t use secure encryption, which would make it easier for hackers to spy on users or hack the site. The letter also attacked Internet.org’s data and privacy policies for possibly taking advantage of new Internet users who might not know how to navigate their settings.
Facebook may have good intentions for Internet.org, but in the wake of so many privacy-related scandals, it’s clear that nothing they promote will get taken at face value anymore — especially by the public abroad.