TRAI Slams Facebook over its Free basics plan

India’s telecom regulator has criticised Facebook over its letter writing campaign tactics to support Free Basics internet plan in India. Free Basics plan lets people access Facebook and some other websites without any charge.

Facebook Free basic plan criticised by TRAI
Facebook Free basic plan criticised by TRAI

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Facebook method of prompting people to support the plan was “crudely majoritarian and orchestrated”.

Facebook’s form, the TRAI argued, offered users a pre-written message that failed to reflect what the regulator wrote in its consultation paper.  As such, the TRAI felt the questions it raised about how telecom providers should price services were not adequately addressed.

Facebook has been campaigning to build support for its services. It has tried to convince the TRAI that Free Basics should be allowed in India — but the agency isn’t impressed with Facebook’s tactics.

In a letter to Facebook from TRAI states that Facebook is misleading users with its Save Free Basics campaign, which was launched shortly after the regulator ordered the service to be temporarily blocked last month.

According to TRAI, Facebook’s method of reducing the scope of the public consultation on differential pricing for all data services to address only Free Basics could have “dangerous ramifications for policy making in India.”

Latest update: Facebook closes down Free Basics services in India.