New Delhi: Social networking site Facebook on Monday opened up its global digital inclusion initiative Internet.org for developers to easily create services that integrate with its site.
"Our goal with Internet.org is to work with as many developers and entrepreneurs as possible to extend the benefits of connectivity to diverse, local communities. To do this, we're going to offer services through Internet.org in a way that's more transparent and inclusive," Facebook said in a post.
This decision by the international giant comes at a time against the backdrop of an intense debate in India on net neutrality.
The company said: "We're building an open platform and anyone who meets these guidelines will be able to participate."
The platform that was launched on Monday will be open to all developers who will build web sites that must be optimized for browsing on both feature and smartphones and in limited bandwidth scenarios.
"In addition, web sites must be properly integrated with Internet.org to allow zero rating," the post said.
Reliance Communications, a part of the Anil Ambani-led group, on February 10 said it has been roped in by Facebook to offer free access to data and web sites to customers through Internet.org.
The Internet.org initiative will provide access to popular web sites and services with zero data charge to make it easier for people to access the internet across both the 2G and 3G platforms.
Facebook said that in less than a year, Internet.org has brought more than 7 million people online in various countries and introduced them to the internet.
The company also clarified that it does not pay operators for the data that people consume.
"We partner with operators on the technical side and provide marketing support to help make people aware of the programme. If successful, people using the internet for the first time will begin to experience its benefits and over time will start exploring and paying to use the broader internet," Facebook said.
"At the core of our efforts with Internet.org are non-exclusive partnerships with mobile operators to offer free basic internet services to people through Internet.org. This is a set of basic websites and services to introduce people to the value of the internet, and that we hope add value to their lives.
"These web sites are very simple and data efficient, so operators can offer these for free in an economically sustainable way. Web sites do not pay to be included, and operators don't charge developers for the data people use for their services," it said.
"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," it added.