UPDATE 1-Facebook opens Internet.org to developers amid open web debate in India
(Adds comments from Facebook CEO, internet activists)
By Aman Shah and Nivedita Bhattacharjee
MUMBAI May 4 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc opened up its Internet.org platform to new websites and applications from developers on Monday, a move the social media giant said would boost efforts to get people online in low-income and rural areas in emerging markets.
However, the decision drew criticism from some online activists in India who expressed concern over Facebook's control over all data accessed on the service and said it violated the principles of an open web.
Internet.org offers free access via mobile phones to pared-down web services, focused on job listings, agricultural information, healthcare and education, as well as Facebook's own social network and messaging services.
It has been launched in nine countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, including India, bringing over 8 million people online, said Chris Daniels, vice president of product for Internet.org, who was in New Delhi to speak with partners and operators.
The platform will be open to all developers who meet certain guidelines, including that they produce content that can be browsed on both basic mobile phones as well as smartphones and is accessible in limited bandwidth situations, Facebook said.
The U.S. company partnered with Reliance Communications to launch Internet.org in India in February.
But a number of e-commerce firms and content developers pulled out of the service after activists claimed it violated principles of net neutrality - the concept that all websites on the internet are treated equally. Continuación...