The spat between Facebook and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over the net neutrality saga is escalating rapidly. The blame-game, over letters, continues.
SaveTheInternet.in questions Facebook
SaveTheInternet.in has urged people to email Facebook and ask why it failed to inform users about a letter the telecom regulator wrote to the social network. On January 1, TRAI asked Facebook to alert its users to send revised responses as a vote for Free Basics did not hold up as a valid response. The letter is important to the debate as it seeks specific responses to questions asked in the differential pricing paper. When Facebook urged its users to email TRAI in support of "digital equality" and supporting Free Basics it conveniently did not address any of the questions posed in the paper.
"With this, SaveTheInternet.in team has enough ammunition to show TRAI that Facebook did not inform users," said Kiran Jonnalagadda, co-founder of HasGeek, who ran the email campaign for SaveTheInternet. in on this new initiative, told the Economic Times.
TRAI slams Facebook
TRAI was not happy with the way Facebook ran the campaign to save its zero-rating platform ‘Free Basics’. In a strongly worded letter slamming the social media giant, it
“In light of the tangential natures of the responses by the users to the questions asked, the communication of the text was vital to demonstrating and ensuring that those who are responding to TRAI are making informed decisions.” - TRAI’s letter to Facebook
TRAI said that it received only 1.89 million comments while Facebook claimed the number to be more than 11 million.
An analysis of a record 24 lakh comments, as disclosed by TRAI to its consultation paper on differential pricing for data services, shows that 18.94 lakh replies are in support of Free Basics, of which 13.5 lakh views are through supportfreebasics.in and without the senders individual e-mail IDs while further 5.44 lakh comments have come from facebookmail.com.
Did someone block Facebook's mails to TRAI?
Social media major Facebook has alleged that someone at TRAI's office blocked email from its websites which people used for sharing their comments on differential pricing issue. According to sources, Facebook in a letter to the regulator, has said that despite clear and timely efforts by millions of Indians to send their comments, "someone with access to designated Trai email account appears to have blocked receipt of all emails from Facebook to that Trai account."
It said that during its query its found that "on December 17 at 5.51.53 GMT, an individual with access to the Trai email account designated to accept comments took action that blocked Facebook from delivering any additional email to that address." Facebook said that the action by person prevented Facebook system from sending further responsive email to TRAI.
(With inputs from PTI)