Well, as the title of the needull suggests, this is the inside story about Facebook’s attempt to launch Free Basics in India.
Many of Facebook’s supporters – in India and abroad – were aghast: why would a poor country reject the assistance of one of the world’s biggest and most powerful tech companies? Marc Andreessen, the powerful venture capitalist who sits on Facebook’s board, contemptuously suggested a misguided resentment of the west was to blame. “Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for India for decades,” he told his 500,000 Twitter followers. “Why stop now?”
When I mentioned this quote to the Facebook executive, he raised his voice in frustration. “There’s no respect, and you can see that from Marc Andreessen. They wouldn’t dare to say that about China. In India they’re fine because we’ve been bending over backwards to accommodate them. I’m a supporter of prime minister Modi, but I don’t know why he has let this go on.” He bet me that Andreessen would apologise by the end of the next day. As we spoke, Andreessen tweeted an apology.