When India's independent telcoms regulator opened up a consultation on whether to allow Facebook to continue bribing some ISPs to charge extra for access to URLs that Facebook hadn't approved, they were flooded with 5.5 million confused comments in support of the $300 billion US company.
Facebook generated these comments by bombarding its users with increasingly vague and misleading campaign messages -- the already FUDded-out "Support a connected India" became the bizarre "Save Ganesh". Simply scrolling past one of these messages on the Facebook app was enough to trigger a message to all your Facebook friends saying that you supported Facebook's position, and asking them to join you.
These online campaigns were complemented by blanket advertising across India -- two-page newspaper ads, billboards, mass SMSes, Whatsapp messages (Facebook owns Whatsapp), radio ads, etc.
Perhaps because Facebook is aware of the true support for Net Neutrality among Indians, including citizens, entrepreneurs, startups, trade bodies and even political parties. Save The Internet, the volunteer-driven group that had rallied over one million Indians to write to TRAI in support of Net Neutrality in April, is currently running a follow up campaign on the latest consultation paper. By drowning TRAI’s email inbox with millions of individual emails that do not have anything to say on “Differential Pricing”, Facebook is running the regulatory version of a DDoS.
Facebook knows that TRAI will not have the technical knowhow or manpower to sift through millions of responses in order to find the ones that actually have answers to its questions. The Free Basics is designed to dump truckloads of hay on TRAI so that real responses turn into proverbial needles.
DDoSing a regulator: A how-to manual from Facebook’s Free Basics
[Rohin Dharmakumar/Times of India]
In 2011, the US Federal Trade Commission put Facebook under consent decree after the company "deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly [allowed] it to be shared and made public."
Last week, Propublica revealed the existence of "I'm 10-15", a secret Facebook group for current and former Customs and Border Protection employees -- a group with 9,500 members, while CBP's total workforce numbers 58,000 -- where it was commons for members to share violent, racist, sexist, misogynist, rape-y memes, including some that threatened and disparaged […]
In Social Connectedness in Urban Areas (Sci-Hub mirror), a group of business and public policy researchers from Facebook, NYU and Princeton study anonymized, fine-grained location data from Facebook users who did not disable their location history, and find that the likelihood that New Yorkers will remain friends is well correlated with the ease of commuting […]
With the rising temperatures on tap this summer, the climate is going to be a frequent topic of conversation, and those conversations won’t be happy ones. Luckily, there’s a way to do a little climate change of your own – in a safe and sustainable way. When it comes to personal air conditioners, EvaPolar is […]
Whether you’re using them for next-level selfies or steady tracking shots, gimbals are a must for anyone who wants to maximize the potential of these powerful smartphone cameras we’re all carrying around. But those smartphones are also supposed to be portable, and let’s face it: Gimbals tend to offset that advantage. Weighing in at just […]
It’s too hot for yard sales, but hey: The internet is here for you. Here are the top ten deals on some of the Boing Boing Store’s best gear, just in time for summer. It’s everything from grills to security cameras to MacBook Pros, and they might be as low as they’re ever going to […]