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With Internet.org, Facebook Looks to Do Well While Doing Good

A year ago, Facebook announced the formation of Internet.org, a “global partnership” aimed at spreading Internet connectivity in the developing world.

The .org moniker and the lofty rhetoric suggested a philanthropic venture. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a February speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, referred to Internet.org this way: “It’s this industry coalition that’s working together to build—to make delivering the Internet and all the different parts of it more efficient and to make it so that everyone in the world can have access to some basic services on the Internet for either a really affordable price or free.”

Yet a look at Internet.org’s management structure, its priorities and its ambitions make it clear that the effort sits squarely within Facebook’s broader business development efforts.

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“What happens down the road is anyone’s guess,” says Mr. Weasler. “There certainly is a chance that it could get more independent—there is precedent for this within Facebook.”

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Dustin Moskovitz and Eric P. Newcomer commented on this article.
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Facebook argues that if it gives people a reason to use the Internet, that's a good thing. Expecting the developing world to adopt education and health tools before social networks might be naive or even patronizing, judging from how the Western world uses the Internet.