Facebook’s Gateway Drug

A journalist remarked that Internet.org sounded like a gateway drug. Mr. Zuckerberg retorted that he preferred to think about it as an “on-ramp to the Internet” — an on-ramp that would shunt an increasing amount of content through Facebook, giving it enormous influence over not just how its users got access to entertainment or news, but also how they received education, health, banking and other social services.

Most folks consider such thinking nefarious. Silicon Valley thinks it’s virtuous. As Zuckerberg put it, one of its goals is to show “people why it’s rational and good for them to spend the limited money they have on the Internet.” This model shows something else: If you run a site or an app, it’s also rational for you to move them inside Facebook’s ecosystem, so that your audience will not have to pay to access it.

Source: The New York Times