Led by Facebook but with backing from a number of other prominent tech companies, Internet.org has made slow but steady progress in a bid to connect underserved countries around the globe. However, despite its altruistic approach, the project has come under fire in India for allegedly violating net neutrality rules by favoring certain carriers, sites and services. Zuckerberg and co. certainly don’t want those criticisms hanging over their head, so today the Facebook CEO confirmed that the company will open up the Internet.org platform to developers, allowing them to create their own mobile-centric tools for millions of (often) first-time internet users.
The majority of users will utilize the free service on a featurephone, so Facebook is requiring that developers adhere to a basic set of rules. Firstly, they must create tools that don’t place restrictions on what users can see. Sites are encouraged to be as efficient as possible, so they load quickly and aren’t bogged down by voice, video, downloads or large photos. That means providers aren’t overloaded by data and they can continue investing in their infrastructure. Zuckerberg hopes that by “more transparent and inclusive,” companies like Cleartrip, NewsHunt, NDTV and the Times Group in India will bring their sites back, allowing citizens to browse the best of the web.