The Takeaway

What Facebook Hasn’t Learned from India

What Facebook Hasn’t Learned from India
Students in Hyderabad protesting Free Basics on Dec. 29. Photo by AP.

Inside of Facebook, there’s lately been discontentment among some of its Indian employees, including those based in Hyderabad and New Delhi.

They’re frustrated with what they see as Facebook’s mishandling of a PR and regulatory mess over Free Basics. That’s the program that gives people access to Facebook, Wikipedia and more than 100 other web services for free. Employees feel that Facebook isn’t a charity, so it shouldn’t pretend to be one when representatives speak to the Indian public about the program. Otherwise it risks a sustained opposition. At the moment, the company’s leadership doesn’t seem to understand this criticism, and it could cause challenges for programs Facebook may push in the future, or if it ever enters the PR minefield of China.

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