Facebook’s Zuckerberg Criticized Director for Comments on India

Facebook chief executive and founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a 'town-hall' meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi on October 28, 2015. Speaking to about 900 students at New Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology, Zuckerberg said broadening Internet access was vital to economic development in a country where a billion people are still not online. AFP PHOTO / Money SHARMA (Photo credit should read MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg distanced himself from the comments made by Marc Andreessen one of the board members on Facebook, after Andreessen said the decision by India to ban the free internet service of Facebook amounted to nothing more than “anti-colonialism.”

Following a decision on Monday from the national telecoms regulator in India, Andreessen tweeted that Anti-Colonialism has been catastrophic economically for the people of India for many decades,

Zuckerberg called the Andreessen comment on Wednesday deeply upsetting. He said they do not represent how Facebook or I think. India has personally been very important to me and to Facebook, said Zuckerberg.

India has a population of over one billion and has become a crucial market for the social media giant. However, much of India’s population does not have any access to Internet.

Facebook partnered with companies in the telecoms industry in a number of countries of which India is included, to launch what it calls Free Basics, a streamlined version of the Web that allows users the see health and travel services, the weather and of course Facebook.

Critics of Free Basics say it violated the net neutrality principle which is the idea that Internet service should not be given an advantage or a disadvantage by allowing access to be cheaper or speeding up or making the service slower.

Some have accused Facebook of attempting to give itself an advantage that is unfair through embedding itself amongst those who cannot afford to choose between social networks.

Andreessen had since deleted his offending tweet as well as apologized. He said he made an ill-informed as well as ill-advised comment about economics and politics in India.

He added that he was opposed to colonialism 100% and was in favor 100% of freedom and independence in all countries, including India.

Facebook has had its troubles winning support in other countries for its Free Basics. In Egypt, the service was shut down.