Egypt pulls off Facebook’s free internet service

Last Updated: 31 December, 2015

Indian regulators have clamped down on Facebook’s Free Basics last week, and now Egypt is on the way back. The Associated Press reports that the program the social network launched with Etisalat Egypt two months ago was shut down today. In a statement to the AP, Facebook said that it hopes the issue is resolved soon, so that the nearly one million people that were previously without internet will have access restored.

Authorities in Egypt haven’t announced a reason for the move, but despite offering free access to healthcare and other info online, the initiative has garnered its fair share of criticism. In India, for example, regulators argue that Free Basics violates the terms of net neutrality by favoring certain carriers, services, and websites. Access to the internet (and those services) is offered through a Facebook-branded online portal, the Free Basics app, rather than being completely open.