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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Appalled by Marc Andreessen's Appalling Comments About India

Mark Zuckerberg is not at all thrilled with his company's longtime board member Marc Andreessen. Not. One. Bit.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not at all thrilled with his company’s longtime board member Marc Andreessen. Not. One. Bit.

That’s because Andreessen stuck his foot in his mouth late Tuesday night when, while philosophizing on Twitter, he compared Facebook’s Free Basics service in India to colonialism and suggested that Indians are setting themselves up for economic ruin by resisting Facebook’s “help.”

The tweets were inappropriate, and a lot of people were quick to call him out. Andreessen, who joined Facebook’s board in 2008, has since deleted the original tweet (which you can read below) and apologized multiple times in his now famous tweetstorm style.

Still, Facebook and Zuckerberg are quickly trying to distance themselves from the comments. In a post Wednesday afternoon, hours after a company spokesperson said that Facebook “strongly rejected” Andreessen’s comments, Zuckerberg wrote: “I found the comments deeply upsetting, and they do not represent the way Facebook or I think at all.”

He continued: “Facebook stands for helping to connect people and giving them voice to shape their own future. But to shape the future we need to understand the past.”

Zuckerberg has spent a lot of time and energy trying to bring Free Basics to India. It’s a pet project of his, and he made a public trip to India and hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook headquarters in 2015.

Free Basics provides a set of Internet services, including Facebook, free of charge to users, but doesn’t provide access to everything on the Internet. Regulators and critics argue that it violates the concept of net neutrality, which is why it’s currently banned in the country.

What’s particularly tough about Andreessen’s comments is that many Free Basics opponents believe that Facebook’s free Internet plan will stifle Indian innovation by promoting established, existing services instead of allowing local Indian services to grow. The thinking is that Free Basics will allow an American gatekeeper (Facebook) to pick the winners and losers.

Here’s Andreessen’s original tweet that sparked all the outrage.


And here’s Zuckerberg’s full post.

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