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Facebook 'Free Basics' service frozen in Egypt

Are they all telling it to zuck off?

By Kat Hall, 31 Dec 2015

Facebook's “Free Basics” service - which bundles together the Social NetworkTM's pick of news, weather and health apps and delivers it via UAE telecoms giant Etisalat to millions of Egyptians - has been shuttered in the land of pyramids.

The giant ad platform told the Associated Press it hopes to "resolve the problem soon."

"We're disappointed that Free Basics will no longer be available in Egypt," it said. "More than 1 million people who were previously unconnected had been using the Internet because of these efforts."

It is not clear why the programme has been halted. However, the service has come under fire from campaigners and governments for prioritising sites such as Facebook over others.

Earlier this month Indian regulators asked for Free Basics to be halted on grounds that it violates the principles of net neutrality.

Mark Zuckerberg hit back in an editorial for the Times of India, saying that his critics were falsely claiming the service was offering less choice.

"This isn't about Facebook's commercial interests - there aren't even any ads in the version of Facebook in Free Basics," he said. ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing