Facebook’s Internet.org has been turned into a platform that is accessible to all developers. The project started out with the goal of providing free Internet access, but was met with criticism as Facebook handpicked the providers that would offer free basic Internet services through the site.
As a response, the service now allows developers to create services for Internet.org and greatly expand the service’s Internet offerings.
Using an app, users will gain access to these basic services for free, so they can view health information, employment information, local information and websites without being charged for data usage. Facebook wants to provide Internet to 2/3 of the world that is not connected to the web.
The announcement also suggests that the platform will not just be a portal, but a layer of the Internet that will provide further functionality to free users.
There are rules to using the service since Internet providers are willing to provide connectivity for free. Websites must be highly optimized. Services cannot use VoIP, file transfers or high resolution photos. Videos are also not allowed due to their high file size.
The app is not available worldwide yet, but has been introduced in parts of Asia and Africa, namely India and Indonesia.