The surprising truth about Facebook’s Internet.org

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You may have heard that Internet.org is a nonprofit organization launched by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and dedicated to bringing Internet access to people who can’t access it, or can’t afford it.

But this isn’t true—not any of it.

The realities of Internet.org came into question last week when India banned it from the country. If the Internet is good, and Internet.org simply exists to get people on it, why was it banned?

Let’s start with a basic question.

What is Internet.org?

Internet.org is not a nonprofit company or even an organization. Internet.org is a business development group within Facebook aimed at increasing Facebook’s users and revenue.

The group is headed by Chris Daniels, whose entire career at Facebook and Microsoft before then has been in business development. His title on LinkedIn is: “Vice President, Product – Internet.org at Facebook.”

What is business development? I think the best definition comes from James Cohane. He defines business development as: “the function at the company responsible for identifying, securing, and/or managing relationships with organizations outside of the company (excluding customers and suppliers) that helps other key functions at the company achieve their respective goals.”

And that’s what Internet.org is. Its function is to work with other companies, carriers and governments to help Facebook as a company achieve its goal to increase the number of Facebook users.