The Internet.org project from Facebook has not been without controversy. Created with the aim of getting everyone in the world online, the program has been widely criticised and many partners pulled out. Now a rebranding has been unveiled for the mobile app and website.
With the launch of the Internet.org Platform, Facebook has taken the opportunity to rename the portal through which people can access a range of free services. Changing the name to Free Basics by Facebook is described as a way "to better distinguish the Internet.org initiative from the programs and services we’re providing", but it's hard not to think that it is also an attempt to move away from the controversy of Internet.org, and it comes ahead of serious push into India.
Providing access to "more than 60" free basic services, the lack of unfettered access to the internet is the source of many of the complaints levelled at the service. Moving the Free Basics label up into the name makes it clear that Facebook is not giving people unrestricted internet access - something Mark Zuckerberg will surely hope will go some way to silence the criticism.
Free Basics from Facebook is available in 19 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America and in addition to the new name, the app and website now features a new menu that can be used to search for and add services.
HTTPS support has been available in the Android app for a while, but it has now been added to the web version of Free Basics from Facebook as well.
The mobile web version of the service can be accessed at FreeBasics.com.