Internet.org opens arms to developers as Facebook responds to criticism

Facebook has decided to turn its Internet.org initiative into an open platform for everyone to use.

The intiative was designed to bring a handful of "basic" internet services to the developing countries for free, but now anyone meeting the guidelines will be able to participate.

"Today, we’re introducing the Internet.org Platform, an open program for developers to easily create services that integrate with Internet.org. We’re also giving people more choice over the free basic services they can use," Facebook says in a blog post.

"Because these services have to be specially built to these specifications, we started by offering just a few. But giving people more choice over the services they use is incredibly important and going forward, people using Internet.org will be able to search for and use services that meet these guidelines. We’re building an open platform and anyone who meets these guidelines will be able to participate."

The move comes as a response to recent criticism that the program is a 'walled garden' and that its hand-picking approach to selecting services was violating net neutrality principles.

"Criticism of net neutrality has been particularly strong in India, where a zero rating program from operator Airtel raised the issue,“ Tech Crunch says. "Facebook lost a number of partners in India, who withdrew from Internet.org in response to the debate, and that gives today’s announcement some added spice.“

Facebook said the service will go from being a static portal to a basic layer of internet. For more information on how to work with Internet.org, visit this website.