(DIYA TV) — First, Silicon Valley venture capitalist and Facebook board member Marc Andresssen tweeted this from his social media page, describing what he believed has created an “economically catastrophic” environment for the Indian people:
Later, in an attempted apology for the lapse of words, Andreessen wrote: “I admire India and the Indian people enormously.”
Andreessen’s lashing tweet came after Indian authorities blocked Facebook’s free Internet service, and he later suggested the country would be in better shape if the British were still in charge. Andreessen first became famous after he co-founded Netscape, and American computer services company, best known for its web browser, Netscape Navigator.
“I apologize for any offense caused by my earlier tweet about Indian history and politics,” Andreessen tweeted Wednesday. “I admire India and the Indian people enormously.”
The controversy began after Facebook’s Free Basics program, which allows free Internet access to a limited number of websites, including the social-media giant’s own, was banned by India’s telecommunications regulator. The regulators opined Internet service providers are prohibited from charging different rates for using different parts of the Web. Members of the net neutrality lobby hailed the decision as a victory, as their principle beliefs state Internet websites should be equally accessible.
Andreessen, taking to his Twitter again, opined why he thought denying Web access was immoral.
“Denying world’s poorest free partial Internet connectivity when today they have none, for ideological reasons, strikes me as morally wrong.”
And: “Another in a long line of economically suicidal decisions made by the Indian government against its own citizens.”
The decision adds India to a laundry-list of other countries—Brazil, the Netherlands, and the United States—to pass laws which restrict telecom operators from charging different rates for Internet traffic based on content. Facebook’s Free Basics program is currently being offered in such countries as Kenya, Zambia, and about three dozen others, none of which however represent the same scale India would introduce to its market.
With 130 million Facebook users, 375 million people online, and an additional 800 million-plus who aren’t, India is the biggest growth market for the social network, which remains blocked in China.
To close his comments, Andreessen tweeted simply: “I now withdraw from all future discussions of Indian economics and politics, and leave them to people with more knowledge and experience.”